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USC vs. Washington: Keys to the game

September 16, 2020 | tqhsdewk | No Comments

first_imgAfter picking up a strong home victory over Washington State on Wednesday, USC now looks to host another foe from the north this Saturday as it takes on Washington in its final contest of the regular season. In order to pick up a win in what will be a crucial game against the Huskies, there are several areas of emphasis in which USC must excel to finish its season on a firm note.Be Ready For FultzIt’s no secret to anyone that Washington goes as its superstar freshman guard Markelle Fultz goes. Averaging 23.2 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season, Fultz is a finalist for some of the most high-profile college basketball awards — including the John Wooden Award, which honors the top player in the nation. However, Fultz is currently listed as questionable for playing in Saturday’s game against the Trojans, as he is recovering from what has been announced as a sore right knee injury. When USC and Washington played on Feb. 1, Fultz finished with 20 points (7-for-17 shooting), six assists and five rebounds. “He’s a great player, and he’s able to score at all three levels offensively,” said junior guard Jordan McLaughlin, who could be pitted against Fultz in the backcourt Saturday. “He’s also able to get his teammates involved, so we’ve been practicing on keying in defensively.”Should Fultz take the floor for Washington on Saturday, the Trojans need to be prepared to defend one of the most lethal offensive talents in the nation. Establish the defensive pressureIn its 87-64 victory over Washington State on Wednesday, USC was able to record nine steals and collect seven blocks on defense. In the first half alone, the Trojans were able to capitalize by scoring 17 points off of 11 Washington State turnovers to open the game. USC’s defensive play opened up large opportunities in transition for easy baskets. “When you get nine steals it means you’re getting out in transition a lot, too,” men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield said. “Then in transition we’re making good passes and hitting open shots.”The Trojans have been scrappy on defense all season long, as they lead the Pac-12 in steals (averaging 6.9 per game). USC has also defended the paint, as it ranks third in the conference in blocked shots per game at 5.5. Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton is currently second in the conference in steals with 57 (he trails only UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Washington’s Matisse Thybulle who have 58). The Trojans will need another solid effort defensively in their home arena Saturday to come away with a win over Washington. Not only has the Trojans defensive unit knocked opponents off-rhythm, but they also create opportunities in transition. Activate BoatwrightSince returning from an MCL injury on Feb. 1, sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright has averaged 18.3 PPG over the last eight games.Boatwright’s first game returning from his injury came against the Huskies in Washington on Feb. 1. In his return, Boatwright immediately looked in the swing of things offensively, as he finished with a game-high 23 points. A 6-foot-10 forward with the ability to create his own shot in the paint, mid-range or from beyond 3-point range, Boatwright brings a unique dynamic to the Trojan offense. Another strong performance from Boatwright against Washington will be essential, as the Trojans would like to see their primary scorer heat up as the Pac-12 Tournament approaches in the coming week. Keep the hot handIn their last two games against Washington State and Arizona State, USC is shooting a combined 66-for-121 (54.5 percent) from the field. From 3-point range the Trojans shot a combined 22-for-52 (42.3 percent) against the Cougars and Sun Devils. “It’s been nice to see our team shooting the ball better over the past couple of games. Even in the loss (to Arizona State) I thought we were shooting well,” Enfield said.The last time that Washington and USC played, the Trojans finished the game by making 17 of their final 25 shot attempts (68 percent) in regulation. USC will look to replicate this showing on the floor Saturday. Play a complete gameThis may be the most crucial point of focus for the Trojans, not just on Saturday, but for the remainder of their season. USC suffered a dramatic loss on Feb. 26 against Arizona State in which a 10-point lead for the Trojans with 3:57 remaining in play evaporated. The Trojans were unable to execute and play situational basketball and clinch the victory over the Sun Devils. The last thing the Trojans can afford to do is give away Saturday’s game in similarly-devastating fashion. Should Washington beat USC due to the Trojans’ inability to finish the game, it will do some serious damage to the Trojans’ Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament hopes going forward. “When you have a lead, you have to be able to play for 40 complete minutes,” Enfield said. “(Our players) know what’s at stake. We are playing a two-game season. Washington State was game one, and now we are on to Washington Saturday for game two. Our players need to come out with the same energy they did (on Wednesday).”last_img read more

first_imgFile- This Jan. 5, 2019, file photo shows Naomi Osaka of Japan talking to her coach Sascha Bajin, left, during her semifinal match against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia. Osaka says she has split with coach Sascha Bajin a little more than two weeks after winning the Australian Open for her second consecutive Grand Slam title. Osaka posted a tweet on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, that says she “will no longer be working together with Sascha.” She also thanked Bajin and wished him “all the best in the future.” (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)Naomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title and moved to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.“Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka posted on Twitter on Monday. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ She was born in Japan — her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian — and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Kevin Alas heads home after successful ACL surgery Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history MOST READ Osaka withdrew from this week’s Qatar Open, citing a back injury.The 21-year-old beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the Australian Open final on Jan. 26.That added to her championship at the U.S. Open last September, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets.Those back-to-back victories made Osaka the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.Osaka became the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 since Wozniacki at 20 in 2010 and the first tennis player from Asia to reach the top of the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.ADVERTISEMENT Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Osaka’s agent confirmed to The Associated Press that Osaka would no longer be working with Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, but said there would be no further comment.Less than a half-hour after Osaka’s tweet, Bajin responded to her on Twitter. He thanked her and wrote: “I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsOsaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season.He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titlelast_img read more