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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    USC suffocates ‘Cats

    Arizona+forward+Chase+Budinger+lets+the+ball+slip+away+from+his+hands+in+the+first+half+of+last+nights+70-58+loss+to+USC+in+McKale+Center.+Budinger+and+guard+Jerryd+Bayless+combined+for+5-for-14+shooting+with+only+15+points+from+the+floor.
    Arizona forward Chase Budinger lets the ball slip away from his hands in the first half of last night’s 70-58 loss to USC in McKale Center. Budinger and guard Jerryd Bayless combined for 5-for-14 shooting with only 15 points from the floor.

    USC 70, Arizona 58

    Oh, what a difference Nic Wise makes.

    When the Wildcats played USC in Los Angeles, Wise penetrated his way to a career-high eight assists and forced the Trojans out of their triangle-and-two defense, freeing forward Chase Budinger for a game-high 29.

    Last night in McKale Center, with Wise still out after knee surgery, the Trojans (18-9, 9-6 Pacific 10 Conference) held Budinger and guard Jerryd Bayless to 15 points using its triangle-and-two much of the second half, and the rest of the Wildcats (17-11, 7-8) could not make up for it in a 70-58 loss.

    “”We miss Nic in every game very, very much,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”When we can’t get any penetration, and I’m not blaming the guys who were out there, it just is what it is. When we only got one penetrating guard in Jerryd and, he’s the guy that’s being guarded in the triangle, it’s going to be very difficult.””

    The eight points for Bayless tied a season low, and three of them came on a fastbreak dunk on which he was fouled and made a free throw. He only managed six shot attempts, less than half his season average, and was often denied the ball in the backcourt by a suffocating USC defense.

    When he did have the ball, the Trojans double-teamed his pick and rolls and went after him when he made a move to the basket.

    Budinger received similar attention leading to a night in which he made 3-of-8 shots but found holes for five assists.

    “”Wherever I went they just doubled me and Chase,”” Bayless said. “”There was no chance me and Chase were going to get an open look tonight, no way.””

    Jawann McClellan hit 3-of-7 from behind the arc and scored 14 points overall, but did not make the same impact as in his career-high 23-point game during the first meeting.

    “”We’ve just got to knock down shots,”” Bayless said. “”I’m not trying to say anything against Jawann or Daniel or anybody else. If nobody’s making shots we can’t get away from that, so when me and Chase get the ball we have two, three guys waiting for us. It’s not really possible for us to do nothing.””

    Just like in the Washington game last week when the Huskies hounded Bayless into a 6-for-19 shooting effort, the book is starting to get out on how to stop Arizona without Wise: pressure Bayless everywhere, don’t give Budinger an open look and make the rest of the team beat you.

    That’s the way O’Neill said he would coach against the Wildcats, and the results of that strategy haven’t been pretty for Arizona.

    “”I do have a concern, but I don’t know what I can do about it,”” O’Neill said. “”If people play us to just to shut those two guys down no matter what then we’re limited to what we can do, very limited.

    “”When Nic was playing that wasn’t even a factor, but it’s a factor now.””

    And 1

    After so much was made of the student section’s obscene chants during the Feb. 16 home game against No. 8 Stanford, a student threw a water bottle that hit Trojans guard Dwight Lewis in the foot near the USC bench with 16.5 seconds remaining in the game.

    O’Neill immediately took the microphone and said, “”Hold on a second, we’re not doing that. Whoever did that, I want to know who it is, whoever did that, that’s wrong. Tim (Floyd), I apologize to you and your team.””

    In his postgame press conference, O’Neill added, “”That’s low rent, and we’re not about that.””

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