WSU HOOPS

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Now’s the time

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 9, 2008

Boy, we needed that one today in the worst possible way. And what a perfect time to do it, with most of the nation watching. Spectacular.

I’ll have a full breakdown of the game on Monday afternoon, because I’ll be able to watch a replay on ESPN360 at work — I can’t get ESPN360 at home, and I don’t have a DVR. (If you’re interested in what others saw, check out the comments from loyal readers Longball and Ptowncoug on the Game Thread.)

From what I could gather from following mobile web updates during the caucus and in reading up on the game this evening, it sounds like this was just what the doctor ordered. I said after the UCLA game that if we continued with the intensity and execution that we had against the Bruins, that we’d be successful and win a lot of games the rest of the way. It appears that’s exactly what happened today.

We had a ridiculous effective field goal percentage of 67 and posted an equally impressive offensive efficiency rating of 129.8. More awesome than that is that we did it with a balanced scoring attack that (for once) didn’t rely on Derrick Low to carry the load. All eight guys in the rotation had at least three shots, and no one had more than nine. I advocated for most of the year for Low needing to be in the 12- to 14-shot range, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is the way it’s going to have to be the rest of the year for this team to be successful. Low is just too streaky.

Beyond that, our defense is showing some serious signs of life. The defensive performance against the Bruins was a lot better than the statistics would show, and it translated today. Only 87.7 efficiency for the Trojans, who could only get to the free throw line eight times. In looking at the shot chart, CBS Sportsline said USC only was 4-of-9 on what would be considered layups and only 2-of-8 from the key area. That’s just 17 shots out of 46 total that came in what would be considered prime penetration area. That’s outstanding, given the troubles we have had with penetration virtually all season.

Now comes the time when we have to build on it. Spank OSU on Thursday and get a tough win at Mac Court on Saturday, and we’re rolling again, coming back home for the Arizona schools. Let’s do it.

Because now’s the time.

If you missed the game as I did, here is the ESPN SportsCenter highlight package for your enjoyment.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from sports.espn.go.com posted with vodpod

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