COLUMN: Following win, USC men’s basketball must keep fire alive

first_imgIt was early in the second half, and USC was ahead by double-digits when the chants started at the Galen Center.“Overrated,” they bellowed, softly at first but soon turning into a stadium-wide jeer aimed at No. 8 UCLA, which USC took down on Wednesday in front of a sold-out, raucous crowd of 10,258 people.But the crowd wasn’t done having fun. They chanted, “Thank you, Lonzo” when Bruins freshman phenom Lonzo Ball missed a pair of free throws that gave all fans free Chick-Fil-A. Then, with five minutes to play, the “overrated” chants started again, sandwiched in between a high-flying putback jam by junior guard Elijah Stewart and an and-one dunk by sophomore forward Chimezie Metu.And, for good measure, with the game out of reach in the final minutes, “Just like football” rained down, a gleeful reference to the 36-14 beatdown that USC’s football team put on UCLA in Pasadena last November.Take a moment to appreciate what happened on Wednesday night at the Galen Center. There it was, a crowd actually getting into a non-football USC sport, the most excited a basketball home crowd has been in some time.While it’s unlikely that the energy for future games will eclipse that of a matchup against a crosstown rival, USC has to hope that what occurred both on the court and in the stands against UCLA serves as a blueprint for the remainder of the season.“It was great,” Metu said about the sellout crowd. “I just wish it was like that every game.”“That,” as in the line for students to enter the arena wrapping around the stadium, the usually half-empty section of the stadium filling up an hour before tip-off, tickets for the game selling out a month beforehand, the parking lots around Galen Center displaying “FULL” signs and traffic on the nearby surface streets slowing to an absolute crawl.Inside, it was just as spectacular. USC beat UCLA for the sixth straight time in men’s basketball or football — four in a row men’s hoops — and the Trojan faithful rubbed it in as much as they could. The capacity crowd cheered and chanted without being prompted by DJ Mal-ski, who typically has to encourage fans to make noise.“This was as good an atmosphere as I’ve seen,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “It was just a great college basketball environment … This atmosphere was just sensational.”On the court, it was like the teams switched jerseys. The Bruins and their high-powered offense — that ranks third in the NCAA in scoring at 92.2 points per game — were held to just 76. The Trojans, who have struggled shooting the ball early in conference play, drilled nine 3-pointers in the first half alone en route to dropping 50 on the Bruins at halftime.It didn’t start out that well. USC trailed 8-0 right off the bat, looking jumpy and over-amped, while an emphatic follow jam by Ball had the crowd oohing and aahing. But after going down 20-10, it was like a light switch went off for the Trojans. There were steals and dunks, alley-oops and hustle plays and a whole lot of the net swishing from long distance.Like that, the game was tied, and then USC went ahead. Before you knew it, Stewart drilled a deep 3-pointer at the first half buzzer to put the Trojans up by double-digits, sending a dejected Bruins team to the locker room.By the end of the game, USC had sent UCLA into low-key panic mode. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bruins stayed in the locker room for nearly half an hour after the game, holding a lengthy team meeting.Maybe this UCLA team isn’t as good as everyone thought it would be (the Bruins also lost to Arizona last Saturday) when it was hyped as a national championship contender, and Ball — who scored 15 points but committed a whopping seven turnovers — still needs time to develop after being heralded as the next big thing. Perhaps he still is. And perhaps the Bruins simply had an off night.The Trojans can’t think about that, though. They have to take the momentum off this win against a top-10 opponent and hope that it translates to another win in Washington next week. Given their inconsistent conference play following a 13-0 start, this could potentially be a season-defining win that sparks a late-season push for a better Pac-12 and NCAA tournament seeding.And hopefully, went they return home on Feb. 9 to play Oregon State, the Galen Center will be just as energized as it was against UCLA. Both the team and the crowd — as the kids say — were absolutely “lit” on Wednesday. Now, it’s all about keeping the fuse burning.Eric He is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. He is also the associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, Grinding Gears, runs on Fridays.last_img read more

SBTech launches new ‘Action Betting’ feature

first_img StumbleUpon Kambi takes control of Churchill Downs BetAmerica sportsbook August 28, 2020 Kambi and DraftKings agree on final closure terms July 24, 2020 Sports betting solutions provider SBTech has added to its range of in-play products with the launch of Action Betting, a mobile-first feature which dynamically suggests markets of interest to players through contextual alerts and call-to-action betting options.Powered by SBTech’s machine learning algorithm, Action Betting creates instant notifications when a specific incident occurs in a match, whether this is a free kick, red or yellow card, corner or dangerous attack. A dynamic market is then displayed on-screen, enabling players to ‘quickbet’ on outcomes directly from the widget, with the selection added to the bet slip instantaneously.Ian Bradley, Chief Product Officer at SBTech, commented: “Action Betting is the result of our investment in personalisation, as we seek to tailor the experience for each user. The constant drive to create more markets is not going to stop, and given the challenges that brings, our aim is to enhance the UX, ensuring players don’t have to scroll and search for markets. “Instead, we offer them suggestions whenever a significant incident occurs, presenting them with a relevant market in the context of the alert. The launch of Action Betting is part of our strategy of continuously improving the mobile betting experience and is just a taste of what we have in store for our partners in 2018.”  Action Betting is live with partners from this month and is part of the continuous development process undertaken by SBTech and its clients. The launch follows on from SBTech being awarded the Sportsbook Supplier of the Year at last week’s SBC awards, something that Group Commercial Officer Andrew Cochrane described as “a testament to the staff and people at SBTech in their pursuit of technology excellence.” Related Articles Share Submit Delasport clients get access to Kiron’s BetMan RGS platform April 27, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

Oktay named February coach of the month

first_img“This win has com e because of my players an e technical bench, it has been a tough month because we had to juggle playing in the CAF Confederation Cup and the league. I feel so great to be appreciated with this wonderful club,” Okay said after receiving the award at the Camp Toyoyo Ground.Gor produced superb league performances in the month where they began with a 1-0 win away to Vihiga United before silencing their traditional rivals AFC Leopards 2-0 in their subsequent match at the Moi Stadium Kasarani.Oktay is looking forward to taking Gor Mahia to CAF Continental glory. Photo/SJAKThe 17-time Kenyan champions saw off in-form Sofapaka 1-0 in their third match at Afraha Stadium but were held to a one all draw by Western Stima in their fourth encounter at Kasarani.K’ogalo defied a numerical disadvantage to edge Tusker 1-0 at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos in the final match of the month.Oktay garnered 12 points in a poll conducted by an SJAK panel to beat Bandari tactician Bernard Mwalala who came second with 8 points.Mwalala who was voted the second best tactician in January had guided Bandari to four wins and a draw in the month.Oktay becomes the third recipient of the award in the ongoing 2018-2019 season after Western Stima’s Paul Ogai and Mathare United’s Francis Kimanzi we’re decorated in December and January respectively. 0Shares0000Hassan Oktay has been named the Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month for February. Photo/SJAKNAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Gor Mahia’s Hassan Oktay has been named the Fidelity Insurance Kenyan Premier League coach of the month for February after leading his side to a run of four wins and a draw in five matches.The Cypriot who took charge of the team at the start of the new season in December beat Sofapaka’s John Baraza and Posta Rangers’ John Kamau to the gong after receiving the most votes from the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) football committee. 0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

PL round-up: Newcastle fight back to draw with Liverpool, Blues thrash Cherries

first_img Jack Colback scored Newcastle’s equalising goal against Liverpool 2 Liverpool 2-2 NewcastleRafa Benitez enjoyed a memorable return to Anfield, watching on as his Newcastle side fought back from two goals down to draw with Liverpool.Daniel Sturridge scored after one minute to hand the Reds the lead, and Adam Lallana put the hosts in full control after half and hour.However, Papiss Cisse scored within minutes of the second half starting, and Jack Colback bagged the equaliser with a deflected shot from the edge of the area to keep the Magpies’ survival hopes intact.Sturridge bagged the opener just moments after kick-off, capitalising on some poor early defending from Benitez’s men.Alberto Moreno lobbed a long-range free-kick into the penalty area, which Sturridge controlled on his chest, before the England international turned away from two defenders and finished with his left foot past Karl Darlow.Going behind so early meant that the visitors had to attack, and they did build some offensive moves, without ever really threatening the Liverpool goal.For all Newcastle’s pressure, it was Liverpool who looked more likely to bag the next goal, and they did grab their second on the half-hour mark.Adam Lallana received the ball on the edge of the box, and after turning onto his left foot, curled a lovely finish over Darlow.Benitez had changes to make at half-time, and he sent his players out with a renewed vigour, which they capitalised on just minutes after the restart.Vurnon Anita sent a lovely cross from the right into the box which evaded Simon Mignolet, with Papiss Cisse getting on the end of it to head into the empty net.The goal revitalised the Magpies, and they could have equalised moments later after Cisse set up Andros Townsend to fire over.Roberto Firmino had a goal chalked off for an offside call, as the Reds looked to extend their lead again, but Jack Colback grabbed the vital next goal – bringing the tie level.Good work from Andros Townsend on the right wing presented Colback with a chance from the edge of the box, and his deflected shot rifled past Mignolet.All the pressure leading up to the equalising goal seemed to disappear with the score tied, and the game ebbed to its finish, with both teams taking a point, which leaves Newcastle just one point away from 17th placed Norwich City.Bournemouth 1-4 ChelseaAn open game on the South Coast was easily won by Chelsea, who hit four past Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.Eden Hazard excelled on his return to the team, scoring twice and setting up one, with Pedro and Willian also netting in an impressive display.Guus Hiddink’s men were given a brief scare when Tommy Elphick headed past Asmir Begovic, but the West London club had just too much quality and saw out the victory.The Cherries attacked fearlessly in the opening stages, as they have done all season, but they were their own worst enemies when conceding the opening goal.With much of the team pushed up the pitch, Cesc Fabregas played a ball through to Pedro which took both centre-backs out of the move. With no one covering and the full-backs in Chelsea’s half, the Spaniard had no trouble chipping a lovely finish over Artur Boruc.The hosts continued to press for their own goal, but the Blues added a second after 35 minutes, once again capitalising on the amount of space presented to them in the middle of the park.Fabregas again played provider, back heeling into Hazard’s path. The Belgium star drove forward, and hit a powerful low strike past Boruc, for what was first Premier League goal of the season.It looked done and dusted right then, but Bournemouth got back into the game seconds later, with Elphick’s header into the ground bouncing slowly over Begovic’s outstretched hand.There was a sense that the Cherries could get back into the game against a Chelsea team with nothing to play for this season, but any hope of taking something from the game was killed 20 minutes from time.Willian bagged a third for the Blues, in almost identical circumstanes to Pedro’s opener, before Hazard grabbed his second, and Chelsea’s fourth, of the day with a powerful close range finish in injury time.Aston Villa 2-4 SouthamptonA sparsely packed Villa Park played host to another display of questionable defending from Aston Villa, as they were beaten 4-2 by Southampton.Shane Long scored one and set up two for the Saints, and although Ashley Westwood netted twice for the hosts, they never threatened to get anything from the game.The Irish international bagged the opener after 15 minutes, although he should have scored moments after kick-off, smashing a shot against the underside of the bar after breaking through the middle of the pitch.The poor defending by Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott was a sign of things to come later in the game, and the centre-back pairing were at fault for Long’s opener.A perfect cross was sent into the box from Ryan Bertrand, and the striker was presented with a free header in the centre of the area with neither Lescott nor Richards marking him. He duly converted, heading into the ground and past Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.The atmosphere turned following the strike, with the sparse crowd hurling abuse at Eric Black’s squad, but fans only started leaving when the Saints went two ahead.Long played creator this time, breaking through the centre of the pitch, before being forced out wide by Guzan. However, he remained in possession, and unselfishly played a pass back into the centre for Dusan Tadic to roll home.With the stadium emptying after the goal, Villa’s fans missed Westwood pulling one back for the hosts, courtesy of some uncharacteristically poor Southampton defending.A cross found its way into the Saints area, and after a series of failed clearances, the goal-shy midfielder was presented the ball on the right, converting calmly past Fraser Forster.There were never any signs of a comback, and Tadic added a third for the visitors with 20 minutes remaining.The second half was almost an exhibition match for the Saints, and a lovely move in the final third resulted in Long once again playing in Tadic, who had no trouble securing all three points.Westwood grabbed a second for Villa with 10 minutes remaining, but Southampton secured all three points when Sadio Mane headed the fourth of the day in injury time, resigning Villa to their 10th consecutive defeat.last_img read more