USC – Game 12 (Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010)

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Men’s Basketball USC – Game 12 (Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010)

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    Game Notes … /41970.PDF

    Rankings (345 D-I schools)

    USC / Lehigh
    Sagarin: 80th / 186th
    RPI: 95th / 206th
    Pomeroy: 61st / 194th

    Resulting Line and Odds of Winning
    Sagarin: USC – 17
    Pomeroy: USC wins 77-61 (94% Chance)


    USC Getting No Respect in Pac 10 Hoops Previews
    by Laughing Stock on Nov 8, 2010 7:42 PM PST … s-previews
    Key passage:Sports Illustrated and Sporting News each recently posted previews of the Pac 10 and each picked Southern California to finish 8th. Honestly, I find it difficult to believe that seven teams will finish ahead of SC. This team has its issues to be sure, specifically outside shooting and a lack of depth, but on the flip side the Trojans are extremely athletic, will be excellent on defense, and feature the best front court in conference with Alex Stepheson and Nikola "Kid Euro" Vucevic

    Preseason Pundits Failing in Regards to USC Basketball
    by Joey Kaufman on Nov 3, 2010 3:01 AM PDT in USC Basketball
    Key passage: Publications such as Athlon, as a result, have placed ‘SC towards the bottom half of the Pac-10 pecking order, picking them 9th citing depth issues complicated by the departure of "The Big Three." After all, they did account for nearly 55% of the team’s scoring output, but nonetheless, that doesn’t necessarily make them invaluable. Granted, all three were serviceable players, but considering the program’s sudden influx of talent, particularly in regards to Fordham transfer Jio Fontan, they’re certainly replaceable.

    #120 USC Trojans: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
    August 30th, 2010 by Joel Welser … iew-168696
    Key passage: The problem the frontcourt has is depth. Vucevic and Stephenson do a pretty good job of staying out of foul trouble, but they cannot play 35 minutes per game. That means the few frontcourt newcomers will have to play. Jackson is a little undersized to play the power forward spot and it remains to be seen if Washington is ready to do anything more than throw around his 6-9, 225 pound frame and grab some rebounds. Evan Smith is another option. He started out his freshman campaign relatively well, but did not see any game action after December 11th. At 6-7 and 210 pounds, Smith may be forced into some playing time at the power forward position unless Coach O’Neill wants to play small.


    In a game of mismatched teams, by their records and rankings, you’d have to give the nod to the home-standing Trojans of Southern California who come into the game fresh off a road win over 19th ranked Tennessee Volunteers and a one point loss to the 3rd ranked Kansas Jayhawks just days earlier. The Trojans are coming off the road to start celebrating the holiday season early facing a 6-5 Lehigh squad representing the lowly Patriot League – 29th ranked in the nation – sporting a 33-53 record. After all, the Mountain Hawks are fresh off exams and in the midst of an interrupted Christmas Break. They will have traveled 2500 miles on the eve of Christmas Eve to do what? Win or simply earn a fat pay check? I’m hoping the gang from southern California enters the game thinking just that and is worried only about the start of PAC 10 play in six short days. Perhaps, too, no one has told about CJ and his love of the big stage (42 pts. vs. Kent State) and his overall road performance numbers this year, i.e., 24.8ppg and 6.2 rpg. While we’re at it, let’s keep senior co-captain Michael Ojo (12.9ppg and 2.9rpg) from neighboring Santa Monica a secret, too. Once the game begins, it might be hard to do with family and friends on hand and ready to hoop- it-up. Let’s also keep quiet about our love for the free-throw line, where are starters are a combined .810. Maybe, too, they’ll forgot about another super-soph of ours, Gabe Knutson (12.5ppg and 6.2rpg), who held his own, thank you, against the towering forwards of Kansas in last year’s NCAA appearance and isn’t afraid to mix-it up with anyone down low. Same goes for John Adams of Cupertino, California, and two other west coast products: David Safstrom and Jordan Hamilton. And, also, let’s not forget about our two point guards who combine deft passing and speed and sport a 2.33 A/TO ratio. Just maybe this game won’t be a walk-over as everyone west of Bethlehem might expect. Playing with passion and running every time they can (LU’s up-tempo game has earned them a 27th ranking in America) and going up against a team whose style in more deliberate – to say the least – this game stacks up as one that’ll be fun to watch. A Lehigh win is not out of the question.



    Was secretly hoping to watch this on TV, but with the online video only available from $9.95 from USC, I’ll happily watch the stick figures shooting the hoops (i.e. Gametracker) and listen to the Lehigh radio team call the action.



    Will be there cheering them on with family who attends USC. They will cheer for LU this round. Go LU!
    I hope the guys like the weather, a little wet at the moment. Wishing all a happy holiday season.



    Last minute thoughts………….

    USC’s Short Bench
    The expected starters (Vucevic, Fontan, M. Jones, Stepheson, and Simmons) log 81.4% of the minutes, score 80.4% of the team’s points, and pull down 74.1% of the rebounds. Putting one, preferably Vucevic their leading scorer (15.2ppg) and rebounder (9.6rpg), on the bench for extended minutes would certainly seem to be a wise game time strategy. Against Tennessee, the big guy committed 5 of the teams 24 personal fouls yet was able to reach the 35 minute mark. In that game, M. Jones and Stepheson each saw 39 minutes of court time. In what is becoming routine, Coach O’Neill played 8 with 7 seeing double-digit minutes in that game. On the other hand, Lehigh typically has 10-11 players log double-digit minutes each game. I would expect Lehigh to run and run some more in an effort to wear down the Trojan starters. Look also for them to drive the ball to the basket hoping to put both Vucevic and Stepheson (who combine for 17.8 of the team’s 35.1 rebounds/game) into harm’s way. Getting to the line where the Lehigh starters are nearly perfect (80+%) is a good thing.

    To the Videotape
    I’m not sure how that could be arranged with a game played just two day ago and Reed and Company on a plane headed to LA, but it would be nice to see how Tennessee held Vucevic to just one rebound on Tuesday night. The 6’10" junior forward averages over 9 per game. In fact, how did Tennessee manage to outrebound the Trojans 38 to 24 and double them on the offensive boards. For the season, USC reports a +2.9 rebounding margin. For Lehigh to have any hope of defeating USC – unless our 3’s fall with great regularity – we must be their equal on the boards. That may be out biggest challenge as we enter play carrying a – 3.0 rebounding margin.

    Nose Guards for all
    There’s no truth to the rumor that LU’s starting five will head to center court each wearing protective nose guards after watching Jordan Hamilton go 4 for 4 (3 for 3 from long distance) against St. Francis (PA)last week. In fact, the only shot the 6’6" forward missed was a free throw. He took aim on that shot with his nose guard slid up and out of the way onto his forehead. Go figure.

    Stellar Freshman Point Guards
    Two of the finest will be on display tonight in USC’s Maurice Jones and Lehigh’s Mackey McKnight. Check out their high school report and per game stats in their freshman year in terms of: Minutes/Points/Rebounds/Assists/Turnovers

    MJ 38.3 / 11.6 / 3.7 / 4.2 / 3.0
    Jones averaged 30.0 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and four steals per game to lead Arthur Hill HS to the Michigan Class A quarterfinals. Jones was named the Associated Press Michigan Class A Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Michigan "Mr. Basketball Award." Jones is rated the No. 27 point guard in the 2010 class by ESPNU and was named first team All-State in Michigan. ESPNU also ranked Jones as the No. 89 player overall in the class of 2010, while MaxPreps listed him as No. 98. He was also named to the Saginaw News 2010 High School Basketball Dream Team. Said Arthur Hill HS coach Greg McMath about Jones, "He’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever been around and ever seen. I’ve been to the ABCD camps and have seen Derrick Rose and all those guys. He’s quicker than those guys."

    MM 26.4 / 8.0 / 1.5 / 4.3 / 1.8
    Standout at Langham Creek, capped off by 2009-10 season in which he garnered All-Region and All-State laurels … Finished as his high school’s All-Time Leading Scorer (1,464 points) while finishing atop in assists as well … Ranked among the top 100 players in the state of Texas on … Served as team captain as a senior … District MVP … Participated in TABC and THSCA All-Star Games … Houston Chronicle First Team All-Greater Houston … Cracked the Kingwood Classic All-Tournament Team … The 1960 Sun Player of the Year … Texas Basketball Magazine All-State … Squad was 24-12 as a senior, reaching the Regional Semifinals … Led the Houston Area 5A in scoring with 24.0 points per game … Earned a number of accolades a year prior as well, including First Team All-District, TABC All-Region and more … Team Captain in 2008-09 … Recipient of the Academic Math Honor for a strong class average.

    $9.95 – USC webcast of tonight’s game
    As LUHoops00 said in another post on this message board, you may only get 127 chances to see CJ perform wearing the Lehigh brown over the course of his career at Lehigh. Why miss this one? Go for it. It’s worth the expense.

    Happy Holidays to all the fans of Lehigh basketball!



    Just how good is CJ? We may find out tonight with Simmons drawing the short straw. What follows was "lifted in part" from the USC Game Notes:

    Will 6’6" Senior Guard Marcus Simmons draw CJ in what should be the match-up of the night? USC Game Notes says "Simmons in Kryptonite" and is frequently called upon to guard the opponent’s top scorer. On Dec. 5 vs. No. 19 Texas was asked to guard Texas’ Jordan Hamilton, averaging 21.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Simmons held Hamilton to 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting and limited him to four rebounds. The next game against NAU on Dec. 11, he covered Cameron Jones who was coming off a 27-point performance and had averaged 20.0 points in the previous 5 games. Simmons held Jones to 10 points on 4 of 14 shooting. He was also matched up against Tennessee’s top scorer Scotty Hopson on Dec. 21 and was part of the reason he was held to just eight points. Simmons has started USC’s first 11 games and averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds.



    It will certainly be an interesting matchup with Simmons, he has drawn the best scorer from the opponents. He is 6’6, but also 220 lbs, so a much bigger defender on a long but lanky 6’3 CJ. CJ will have to try to beat him off the dribble and around screens, get him to respect the drive and then mix in the pull-up J game….

    Interesting to note on USC team, their rotation features guards 6’0 and under and then everyone else is 6’6 and over….CJ might have a sweet spot here with his combo of size/speed/shooting….

    FIred up for this one…



    Idiotic online coverage showing replay of every USC bucket, meaning I’m missing LU offensive sets…disgraceful so far…



    Down by 17 at the half. Culprits include:

    Our shooting: 28% from the field
    Our FTs: 5 for 12. Gake and Safstrom miss 4 in a row. Shortly thereafter, Ojo misses 2.
    USC’s hot hand from 3, Donte Smith. He’s 3 for 3 from deep. Team is 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.
    LU tightness. Three air-balls, if I count right.
    Mackey is team high scorer at the half.
    CJ can’t get it going. He’s 1 for 4. Simmons all over him.
    USC’s superior athletism and size donw low.
    USC’s quickness around the perimeter – finding the open man vs. the zone with a deep three.

    Reed will have his hands full at intermission.



    worst coverage online I’ve ever seen, and worst 10 bucks I’ve ever spent…freeking joke, replay every made bucket, and I miss LU offensive possessions..reed stuck with zone way to long, finally switched after they hit about 6 3’s in a row in 1st half….horrible night all around..



    repeat after me, we need bigs, at least athletic bigs that can rebound the basketball….I don’t care that or if our offense is perimeter oriented, just get me some bigs that can rebound and not get tossed around underneath…..



    Although a big time Lehigh Football fan

    not happy with this result against USC

    lets go Engineers

    get your stuff together for the rest of the season….




    No other word can better describe what I saw, from the web-coverage (you’re right, LUHoops00) to the play of nearly everyone dressed in the brown and white. Where do you start? Except for Mackey McKnight’s early heroics and the play of David Safstrom, there were few other highlights to point to. We loss any chance of keeping the game competitive early on yielding two first half runs of 9-0 and 18-21 to USC. That was all she wrote.

    No truer words were ever spoken than these:

    "Lehigh does not have the size, power and strength to compete with a team the likes of USC." (USC announcer covering the game)

    "We were out of sync….out of sort." (Coach Brett Reed in his post-game interview)

    Revealing stats:


    Safstrom plays 20 minutes and pulls down 5 rebounds, scores 4, and blocks 4. He didn’t appear winded and actually, at times, looked like he belonged. David could be a pleasant surprise to many who follow the team and an unwelcomed sight to our PL opponents come January.

    Thirteen players seeing minutes. We may need everyone of them at one time or another once the real season begins.

    Keefer and Greiner combining for 11 points on 4 for 5 shooting in limited yet spirited play. When will we see each getting the minutes they deserve?

    Mackey and Ojo carrying the load in the early going (6 for 14) when no one else could seem to find the basket – CJ included. McKnight is looking more and more like a dual threat at the point, distributing the ball well and scoring when necessary.

    While it’s hard to call it a "positive," scoring just one bucket, I liked the way McCarthy played in his 10 minutes. Blocked and pushed around a bit, he still showed fight and a nice left-handed touch. He probably never thought he’d see 10 minutes against a PAC 10 team a year ago in prep school up in New Hampshire. A long way from being a finished product, but he could be a force in the PL in 2012-2014.


    CJ’s 7 points and 3 boards. Double-teamed (Simmons plus one) most of the night, there was little else he could do. Reed did the right thing in limiting his minutes to 28 and hoping someone else could catch fire. CJ, to his credit, did the right thing too. He attempted only 8 shots or half is normal output.

    D’Orazio’s 0-5 (four from deep). The spark that never lit the team.

    Adam’s nightmarish 0 for 3 in 5 minutes of time. Extremely poor shot selection and not a factor on the boards.

    Knutson’s inability to manufacture points (1 for 7 and a 2 free throws) down low in his duels with Vucevic and Stepheson. A far different Gabe from what we saw in the Kansas game.

    LU’s 4 for 18 from deep. When they were needed the most in the second half, if we were to entertain a comeback, they weren’t there (0-10 after intermission).

    5 for 12 foul shooting in the first half. Hit for 9 or 10 and be down far fewer at the half with some hope of recovery.

    5 assists and 12 turnovers!

    33 boards to USC’s 42.

    If the team thought their troubles were over boarding the plane to come home, they might wish to pick up a copy of today’s newspaper showing Rutgers winning a close one, 55-52, over St. Peter’s. The Peacocks visit us next. Game Time: 2:30pm, Wednesday, Dec. 29th.



    Ooops, meant to say 18-2 in the passage below.

    We loss any chance of keeping the game competitive early on yielding two first half runs of 9-0 and 18-21 to USC. That was all she wrote.



    I was there. No one showed up. Poor team effort all around. The only defense was Maneri, Saftstrom and to Adam’s credit as he was bashed here, he had a clean block on Vusivek, he had a few mins of play after coming in cold in the last half of the second. Maneri did well, was pulled from the game, why? Hamilton got a little time, but could not get in the flow. Greiner had one nice shot. Coach Reed was outcoached. The players are blamed, but the coach has not ignited this team. Looking on line is one thing, seeing him coach in person was another. What a homecoming. Give it a break.

    For all of you who want to defend Reed, stop it, he cannot coach, saw it for myself. He is Dr. Reed, not Coach Reed. The team looked soft. PL play will be tough. The 4 and 5 spot is not solid. CJ has been discovered, it will be tough. As angry as I am and sound, I wish the team well. Remember when you write about these kids, they are growing as adults.



    oh yes, what about spirited play? Keefer mouthed at a USC player and got shoved. Greiner and Keefer getting minutes they deserve. Sounds like a former player that often favored Keefer in many of his posts. Give it a break. I am pulling for the team, but I think Maneri, Small, Keefer, Hamilton, Adams and D’Orazio have a lot to give to this team. They need to gain confidence, in order to do so, they need to be in the game.

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