LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes when things aren't going your way all you can do as a coach is raise your hands in the air and ask your players to do things they've never done before.
That was basically USC coach
"I don't think we've ever worked on a press, have we Daniel?" said Floyd, looking at his point guard,
The surprisingly aggressive defense forced Arizona State into three turnovers within the first three minutes of the second half as USC cut Arizona State's lead down to six points.
Then during the game's most crucial moment, Floyd asked forward
"We had not a switched a screen and roll all game until the last two possessions," said Floyd. "It really was a classic match-up with the league's best defender and the league's MVP offensively."
"The only thing I said at halftime is thank god we know that teams can blow leads," Floyd said after the game. "We've given two away the last two games. I said I'm not sure you guys have the courage of those two teams that we played against but we'll find out."
"If we didn't get to the tournament my mindset would have been you got to do it again next year, you got to stick with the team and keep going," said DeRozen, who notched a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds against UCLA Friday. "But I'm just focused on USC right now."
Arizona State's James Harden grabs most of the headlines for Arizona State, but if they are going to have a long run in the tournament, the Sun Devils are going to need
After Gibson missed two easy lay-ups in the first half, Floyd turned around in disgust, took out his gum and threw it towards the trash bin behind his chair, his hand less than a foot from the bin. It, too, missed. "It was that kind of half," said Floyd.
Hackett, after hitting a couple free throws to give USC its first lead of the game with 42 seconds left puts his hands to his ears and screamed, "C'mon, get up, give it up!" Hackett could be forgiven for not hearing the crowd as there was plenty of empty seats at Staples Center, which is only a couple miles away from the USC campus. While USC football routinely gets over 90,000 for football games, getting 10,000 to come watch the basketball team win the Pac-10 is still a struggle.
Arizona State was already in the NCAAs as a solid No. 5 or 6 seed and will likely stay there even after Saturday's loss. USC, which wouldn't have made it in had it not won, will have to wait until Selection Sunday to find out where it will be, but some were optimistically predicting a No. 9 seed while others were just hoping to be in a nice city.
"We'll see where we go, hopefully it won't be Omaha, what's it, I don't even know how to pronounce it," said Hackett, who played every minute of the tournament for USC. "Hopefully it will be somewhere close."