March 21st, 2009 10:42 EST
Time to Replant Those Seeds, Bookies: USC Blows Past Boston College 72-55
#91 seeded player in the country, Taj Gibson shot 10 for 10 as he and his Trojans stampeded over the Eagles in overwhelming fashon. Gibson led the Trojans` offensive assault with 24 points, as he was 100 percent in the field, over the beleaguered Eagles 72-55 Friday night, taking USC to the second round of the NCAA tournament. #7 ranked Boston College were the favorites going into the contest against the 6 seeds.
The Trojans continued its trumphant tradition they began in last week`s Pac-10 tournament title game.
Gibson`s excellence in shooting percentage was the 2nd best performance in NCAA tournament history with a minimum of ten field goal attempts. This ties him with Providence`s Marvin Barnes` 1973 NCAA performance and Duke`s Christian Laettner`s heralded charge in 1992, that were also 10-10.
Trojans` Guard Dwight Lewis and Forward DeMar DeRozen combined for 38 points, while DeRozen tacked on 9 rebounds giving USC the edge in that category (22-12).
Forward Corey Raji led the Eagles with 15 points, though production was erratic at best for Boston College. During one 13-minute period, the Eagles only made 1 field goal, contributing to their embarrassing finish to the favored Trojans.
BC Guard Tyrese Rice had a dismal game: he only made 1 of 6 of his 3-point tries and finished the game with 9 points.
Defense was key in the matchup as USC as now boosted their record to 13 and 0 against teams who have scored less than 60 points per game this season.
Earlier this week, the Trojans` coach Tim Floyd congratulated the Eagles for their strategic shot decisions, though, as many commentators suggested, it didn`t matter where they were shooting from, the ball just wasn`t going in the hoop.
When examining both teams, it`s clear that USC had the height and speed advantage over the Eagles. Every rebound, tip, blocked shot, and slam dunk by the gifted Trojans eventually paid off in the long run. BC`s Reggie Jackson sank a 3-ponter to put the Eagles ahead 44-41, but the Trojans soon retaliated in full force.
Guard Daniel Hackett ended their responding foray as he slapped down a shot and slung the ball down court to a waiting Taj Gibson whose slam dunk which capped USC`s 11 unanswered point streak. DeRozen broke an 0-2 run by the Trojans with an easy tip for 2 after which the score was 56-47 in USC`s favor. Gibson followed his teammate in putting down 2 more: the last of his 10 completions and therefore of the game.
After a devastating loss to the Kansas State a year ago, those continuing to play for the USC squad vowed not to repeat that mistake. With a all star assembly of juniors that have played together all their collegiate careers in Gibson, Lewis, and Hackett, the team is punctuated by greater consistency and chemistry than the maligned team of yesteryear.
Always a workhorse, Gibson has played all 2 hours of Pac-10 championship basketball this postseason and has barely shown noticeable fatigue thus far.
He buffered against a shot underneath nearing the buzzer of the 1st period, and later after the Eagles missed a prime scoring opportunity to come back, he drew a foul while going for a layup. He made one of his free throws, culminating in a play garnering the Trojans 3 more.
USC concluded another 9 unheeded point drive on their next possession.
Though they weren`t favored to win, USC was chosen by many analysts as a sleeper contender to slither its way into the second round or even further in this side of the NCAA bracket.
Following his team`s heartbreaking loss, Boston College`s head coach Al Skinner still touts his team as a resilient corps of determined young men who overcame recent losses to give it their all at this level.
But as the score card read, the intangibles and defense by the better team surmounted expectations some held, including the President of the United States, concerning USC`s chances this year in the NCAA championship.