Plays it Close, But USC Pulls Away, 67-53
Hackett Makes a Come Back in Trojan Victory
After a serious injury Thursday night, which saw the Trojans fall to Arizona, Daniel Hackett was not expected to return to play. Preliminary reports from the locker room Thursday was that Hackett was being examined for possible bone chip in hip or possibly a cracked rib. Hackett could hardly move and has been in pain since Thursday. X-rays proved that he had a deep bruise, possibly a hip-pointer.
Amazingly, Hackett returned to the hardwood Saturday evening, not highly effective, but played well enough to give relief to Angelo Johnson in a hard fought 67-53 victory over the Sun Devils at the Galen Center.
The Word on Daniel Hackett
Coach Tim Floyd said of Hackett, "We got limited minutes from Daniel, but he had three boards. He couldn't run, couldn't jump." With a smile on his face, Floyd continued, "He told me before the game he couldn't jump. I told him he never was able to, it's going to be okay."
Floyd then explained the advantage of having Hackett in the lineup, "It meant a lot to the coaches, because we needed to give our guys a ‘blow.' We couldn't really do it the other night (against Arizona). Guys were able to get a couple minutes (of rest)."
In the locker room, while grimacing, Hackett said, "It was painful, I'm not going to even lie. Give a lot of credit to our trainer, Bobby (Walls) and the doctor, because they've been with me the last two days. It was almost like a miracle that I was able to run today."
Hackett explained his injury, "It's a deep pelvis bruise, a deep bone bruise, you can call it a hip-pointer, it's the same thing. They told me it would take a couple days or a couple of weeks; it would depend on my body. We started working this morning at 7:00 o'clock, I worked through the day and they got me on the court."
Winning a Tough Battle
Even with limited mobility, Hackett was able to play 18 minutes and that along with 17 minutes from Keith Wilkinson, was enough to give starters significant rest so they could pull the game through and not tire out.
Once again, O.J. Mayo, Taj Gibson and Davon Jefferson led the Trojans. Mayo led USC with 7-11, 20 points. Gibson had 7-10, 19 points, with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Jefferson was 3-5, 11 points, with 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
As usual, this game was won on defense. With 18 minutes to play in the second half, the Trojans stepped up their defense, playing a tough man-to-man, forcing ASU to work hard at getting to the basket. USC played this defense throughout the second half until ASU wasn't able to answer the bell, with the Trojans slowly building up its lead.
USC held ASU to 53 points on 40% field goal shooting. Nearly half of their points coming from James Harden, who had 26 points before fouling out of the game. The Trojans shot a respectable 51% from the field.
Hold Your Breath
Late in the second half, Davon Jefferson hit the floor hard, over an under-cutting Derek Glasser. Jefferson took a while to get off the floor, but recovered quickly as he sunk two free throws. The crowd voiced their concern loudly, as a strong boo rang through the Galen Center when Glasser touched the ball on ASU's next possession.
Tough Week Ahead
With no rest for the weary, the Trojans take a trip up to the Pacific Northwest for games on Thursday and Saturday. USC takes on Washington in Seattle, Thursday, February 7, 7:00 p.m., PST, Fox Sports Prime Ticket and SIRIUS Channel 122. On Saturday the Trojans go to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars, 12:30 p.m., PST, ABC and SIRIUS Channel 122.
James Harden tries to drive on Keith Wilkinson(AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)
Derek Glasser elbows his way around Angelo Johnson (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)
Rejected: Taj Gibson blocks a Jeff Pendergraph shot (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)
Tim Floyd calls out a play on the sideline (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)
Slam Dunk! Taj Gibson slams it home as Sun Devils watch (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)