Now that I had the chance to sleep on last night's game I feel a little better. Actually much better. The more I think of it I think many of us here felt that initial sense of shock and doom & gloom as we were watching LRMAM crumpled on the floor, writhing in pain, and almost on verge of tears. As Mrs. N and yours truly were watching we felt like it was our little brother hurting on the floor. It wasn't fun. And may be that's why we were feeling so depressed which wasn't alleviated by another incredibly resilient performance by our Ben Ball warriors.
But I am feeling better after reading this from Luc in the LA Times:
"This time the pain was so bad I thought I broke it," Mbah a Moute said.
Halftime x-rays were negative and after the game, with his foot stuck in a bucket of ice, Mbah a Moute was smiling. "Now it feels better than the last time I sprained it," he said.
"It was just very painful. I've never felt so much pain, especially from a sprained ankle. I thought I broke it or something," said Mbah a Moute, who appeared to come down on the foot of the Trojans' Davon Jefferson. "When I got to the locker room, (the swelling) started to go down and now it definitely feels better, so that's a good sign."
Those words served little purpose initially as USC proceeded to build an eight-point lead, but Howland's halftime message to the Bruins was received much better.
RW was more aggressive at 1 and directly attacked the Trojan D while setting up his team-mates. Meanwhile, JK was just relentless around the boards. He also was extremely effectively in helping get more crisp ball movement going and create more spacing for KL to neutralize Floyd's triangle and two.
Not only JK even Dragovic was effective in 2 mins of action he got in the second half hauling down an offensive board and scrapping on the floor.
I don' think I have to add anything more about KL. I think last night's performance spoke for itself. I do have note about DC's focus. Here is DC on his two FTs with game on the line and a one point lead (OC Register):
"I saw like three (rims)," Collison said. "I just followed my free-throw rules -- keep the ball up, follow through, stay focused, like I have been doing all year and hopefully, they fall in."
DC was so much more aggressive in the second half. I thought he should have been looking to shoot more early in the first half. But switching RW over to 1 seemed to free up DC and allow him to be more aggressive with his shots.
Before closing this post I think we should all take note of this:
Photo Credit: Wally Skalij / LAT
What the heck is that song girl doing in that picture? Anyway, we have to tip our hats to Mayo and Hackett for that gesture. They sprinted back to the other end of the court as soon as they realized LRMAM was down. That was pure class. And maybe it won't turn out to be an aberration. There is still many things that are wrong with Floyd and how he has built that program on house of cards based on recruiting athletes with questionable academic backgrounds (and I am being charitable here). But at least for that one moment we saw sign of class from that institution, which to this date is marked (in this Nation) by what Marinovich did to Matt Darby. So props to OJ and Hackett.
Anyway, the more I think of it this am, the more I am appreciative of what our boys did last night, refusing to give an inch even during the most dire of circumstances. I think given the news on Luc and the courage we saw from our coaches and players, we are going to be in a pretty good frame of mine heading against Stanford tonight. More on that game in a post to follow shortly.