USC doesn't star on either end in 63-59 loss to Georgia

The Trojans once again shoot poorly, making only 36% of their shots and have a defensive breakdown. They lead by eight midway through second half but cannot hold off the Bulldogs.

December 17, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • "Our defense betrayed us tonight," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill (shown earlier this month against New Mexico) said following the Trojans' 63-59 loss to Georgia on Saturday night.
"Our defense betrayed us tonight," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

The Lakers practiced at the Galen Center on Friday.

The Clippers will do the same Sunday.

Moving forward, perhaps some NBA offensive firepower and late defensive intensity will rub off on USC when it plays in its own building.

On Saturday night, USC once again shot poorly and had a defensive breakdown in a 63-59 loss to Georgia.

The Bulldogs made nine of 13 three-point shots, including six of eight in the second half.

"Our defense betrayed us tonight," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said.

Freshman guard Alexis Moore scored a career-high 18 points for the Trojans, who made only 36% of their shots and fell to 4-7.

The Trojans led by eight points midway through the second half, but could not hold off the Bulldogs, who made 51% of their shots.

"We have to get back in the lab and kind of re-evaluate ourselves on the defensive end," Moore said.

Georgia had not played since suffering a 68-56 loss to Georgia Tech on Dec. 7, a defeat that stretched a losing streak to four games.

But the Bulldogs did not appear to be affected by the layoff, or by playing in the Pacific time zone for the first time since 2005.

Freshman guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the first McDonald's All-American to sign with Georgia in 20 years, scored nine points in the first half and finished with a game-high 21 points. He made four of five three-point attempts, including one with less than a minute left that all but sealed it.

The Trojans entered the game seeking to improve on first-half performances that had stifled them throughout the season.

USC made only 32% of its shots in the first half against Georgia but went into the break tied at 25.

That, in itself, was a victory of sorts for a team that was held to a season-low 15 first-half points in its last game against New Mexico.

The Trojans took advantage of poor free-throw shooting by Georgia at the outset of the second half and built a lead that increased to 47-39 with on a layup by Garrett Jackson with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Georgia whittled away at the lead, senior guard Dustin Ware making a three-pointer to tie the score with less than five minutes left.

Gerald Robinson Jr. gave the Bulldogs a 53-52 lead when he picked up a loose ball and converted a layup, but Aaron Fuller put the Trojans back in front with two free throws.

Donte Williams' slam dunk and Marcus Thornton's two free throws pushed the margin to three points.

The Trojans got to within one with a minute left on a Dewayne Dedmon steal that led to a layup by guard Maurice Jones.

Caldwell-Pope, however, made a three-pointer from the left wing to put Georgia ahead, 60-56.

Moore's three-pointer with 24.6 seconds left to cut the deficit to one but Caldwell-Pope made two free throws for a 62-59 lead.

Jones then missed a three-point attempt and Moore was stripped of the ball while attempting another, ending the threat.

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