It was appropriate that USC and Colorado State played a basketball game in the 40-point range Monday night at Loyola Marymount with the Rams winning, 46-41, before a crowd of 1,892.
That was a typical college score in the 1940s when Henry Iba was famed for his slowdown tactics at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).
Moreover, the game was played in about 1 hour 35 minutes. Up-tempo games usually last two hours or more.
It was USC's last nonconference game before it resumes Pacific 10 Conference competition Thursday night and Saturday against Oregon and Oregon State.
Gersten Pavilion, Loyola's home court, isn't usually the site for such a deliberate, slow-paced game. The Lions have been averaging 110 points a game.
Colorado State (8-2) led USC, 23-20, at halftime Monday night.
By contrast, Loyola scored its 41st point with only 10:11 elapsed in the first half of a Dec. 30 game with Holy Cross.
The Lions, with their up-tempo style, went on to win, 127-104. USC (3-8) and Colorado State couldn't even combine for 100 points.
USC Coach George Raveling said he has reverted to a more deliberate style of play to provide his team with a better opportunity to win.
Such a style was successful in recent victories over California and Western Kentucky after a 1-7 start.
Raveling pointed out that in 1983 his Washington State team had a 22-6 record after winning a first-round National Collegiate Athletic Assn. game and before losing to Virginia with Ralph Sampson. And Raveling was employing the same patient system that he is using now.
Of course, any game is distorted when Boyd Grant is the opposing coach. He was renowned for slow tempo games while coaching at Fresno State, where he was eminently successful.
Despite the loss, Raveling saw some good points.
"Over 40 minutes we played good enough defense to win," he said. "I have no problem with our defense. Offensively, though, we did a poor job of reading their defense and our passing left a lot to be desired. I was disappointed with the play of our guards."
Rich Grande and Brad Winslow, USC's starting guards, scored only a combined two points with six assists. Grande missed four shots from the field, and Winslow, who scored 34 points in two previous games, was 1 for 6.
The patient Rams would sometimes run the 45-second clock down to three seconds, or less before shooting.
"We had to be ready to play defense for 45 seconds and sometimes we'd let down in the last 10 seconds," Grande said. "But we had more problems offensively. I know I didn't have a particularly good game."
Nonetheless, USC, which trailed by nine points late in the first half, made a run at Colorado State in the second half.
USC got its first lead at 37-35 since early in the game, when guard Anthony Pendleton hit his second three-point basket with 7:33 remaining.
And the Trojans led again, 39-37, on forward Alan Pollard's medium range jump shot with 6:43 to play.
Then, the Rams took charge moving into a 43-39 advantage that they protected until the end. "Down the stretch, we didn't penetrate the gaps consistently and we were throwing the ball across the court haphazardly," Raveling said. "Against a team as possession-oriented as Colorado State, whoever made the most mistakes at the end of the game was going to lose and, unfortunately, we were the team that made the most mistakes at the end."
Raveling was probably referring to Grande's high pass that Pendleton couldn't handle with 1:43 left and the Rams ahead, 44-40.
Then, with six seconds left and USC trailing, 44-41, forward Chris Moore's outlet pass went off the heels of teammate Calvin Banks, a costly turnover.
"We wanted to get the ball to our point guard (Dave Wiltz at the time) and run Pendleton and Winslow to the corners," Raveling said. "The ball was supposed to go to Wiltz, not Banks, who wasn't looking for it because it wasn't supposed to go to him."
However, Colorado State had trouble inbounding the ball, and it seemed that it was close to a five-second violation. The Rams then called a timeout in the nick of time.
Raveling didn't think so, glaring at official Bob Garibaldi.
"I can't comment on the officiating. It's a conference rule," Raveling said. " I don't want to take away a good victory for Colorado State."
Anyway, that was the last gasp for the Trojans. The Rams inbounded the ball after the timeout, and guard David Turcotte put the game out of reach with two free throws with three seconds remaining.
Turcotte shared scoring honors with Colorado State forward Pat Durham each finishing with 15 points.
Moore, a community college transfer from Birmingham, Ala., led the Trojans with 13 points, making 7 of 10 shots from the free-throw line.
"In the last three weeks Chris has made an amazing transition, especially defensively," Raveling said. "It has really shown in the films. He's made great strides for us."
Raveling added that he saw a lot of good things to build on and that the Monday night's game was solid preparation for the Oregon schools, who are also possession-oriented.