USC shocks rivals No. 3 UCLA on Senior Night

first_imgThis past Saturday, the unranked USC Trojans competed against No. 3 UCLA at home and upset the Bruins with a five-set victory. After falling in the first set 18-25, the Men of Troy won the next two sets, both 25-23. UCLA then claimed the fourth set 19-25, to which USC responded by rallying and claiming victory over the match with a 15-11 fifth set. It was head coach Jeff Nygaard’s first victory over his alma mater after serving in his position for three years.Redshirt junior outside hitter Jack Wyett was honored on Senior Night. Ling Luo | Daily TrojanIt was the Trojans’ Senior Night, honoring opposite hitter Jon Rivera, setter Gert Lisha, middle blocker Connor Inlow and outside hitter Jack Wyett. Rivera recorded one kill and three digs. Lisha ran the offense with a stellar performance, boasting 50 assists by the end of the night. Lisha also showed up defensively with 11 digs. Inlow had one kill while Wyett put up 18 kills, eight digs and one ace.Junior outside hitter Gianluca Grasso attributed some of the Trojans’ success to the atmosphere of the night.“I think that being Senior Night, the last home game of the season, and a big rivalry against UCLA, we had a really good week of practice,” Grasso said. “We were super focused going in.”Grasso also thought the Trojans’ mental game was a strong point in their performance.“We were positive the whole time as opposed to after a bad play or call from the refs we reacted negatively towards the game,” Grasso said. “Also what was different was the effort and the discipline. We knew it was an important game for us to win and everyone was 100 percent.”In addition to the seniors, Grasso was a big factor in the win. He had 20 kills, the most of the team, with a .441 hitting percentage. Grasso also added two aces and two digs. Freshman middle blocker Sam Lewis put up 10 kills and a .471 hitting percentage, adding five blocks. Junior outside hitter Ryan Moss also contributed nine kills and 12 digs, a solid defensive performance. Freshman libero Cole Paxson was focused on the serve receive game with an impressive .962 reception percentage, only recording one reception error in five sets.As a team, the Men of Troy followed Paxson and did not waver on serve receives. Grasso followed closely with a .958 reception percentage, and Wyett similarly with .929.The Trojans had an in-depth game plan that they executed very well, leading to success on the court. Their game plan consisted of attacking certain passers on serve receive and a blocking recipe that was detailed for each hitter.“We were aggravating them early,” Lisha said. “They made adjustments during the game and this was the first game where we were able to make adjustments back to them. It was like a chess match, I would say. We were disciplined throughout the whole game and didn’t try to play outside of our comfort levels.”As for the Bruins, their offense was led by senior opposite hitter Christian Hessenauer who put up 22 kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Jake Arnitz contributed with 13 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Daenan Gyimah and junior outside hitter Dylan Missry each had 10 kills. Junior setter Micah Ma’a ran the offense with 54 total assists.Arnitz passed 28 serve receive balls throughout the entire match without recording an error, boasting a rare 1.000 reception percentage. Senior outside hitter JT Hatch also recorded 28 passes with a .903 reception percentage, resulting in an impressive serve receive performance on both sides of the net. Defensively, Missry led the Bruins with 12 digs, followed by Hatch with nine and Arnitz with seven.After struggling all season to pull out wins, the Trojans are hoping that this upset will give them momentum to finish out their season strong and clean up their current 3-7 record in league play. They will travel to take on No. 13 Grand Canyon on Friday, followed by No. 14 Concordia on Saturday.last_img read more

Joe Johnson’s last-second heroics put Jazz over Clippers in Game 1

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> When it came to scoring against the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert figured to present the same defensive paradox as the series of obstacles in a children’s campfire sing-along: Can’t go over him, can’t go around him, can’t go through him.That lasted for all of 11 seconds.When Gobert crumpled to the ground moments after winning the opening tip, his left knee having collided with the knee of Luc Mbah a Moute, it seemed a game and a playoffs series had changed.Things are never that straightforward, however, for the Clippers. Not in the postseason. Playing without Gobert, the Jazz stunned the Clippers with a 97-95 Game 1 defeat when veteran Joe Johnson drove past Jamal Crawford and floated a shot that sailed just beyond DeAndre Jordan’s fingertips and bounced twice on the rim before falling through the net as time expired.“You lose the first game and obviously you want to win all of your home games,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We fought to the end of the year to get (homecourt advantage), now we’ve given it right back.”The Clippers had just rallied from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the score at 95 on a bank shot by Chris Paul with 13.1 seconds left. The Jazz opted not to call a timeout and instead put the ball in the hands of Johnson, a former All-Star who has embraced a reserve role with the upstart Jazz.Gobert was diagnosed with a sprained left knee and, though X-rays were negative, left Staples Center before the game ended to undergo an MRI.The Clippers had won 18 of their last 20 games against Utah, dating back to 2012, and now the Western Conference’s No.  5-seeded team was without its anchor and leading Defensive Player of the Year candidate. So, how then, did the Clippers leave Staples Center on Saturday night saddled with an all-too-familiar feeling: In a 0-1 series hole, facing yet another uphill climb to overcome their years-long playoff demons?Paul pulled the Clippers within 90-89 on a 3 with 2:08 left in the game. They pulled within one point again at 94-93 when Blake Griffin buried a pair of free throws with 23.3 seconds remaining.With 18.7 seconds remaining, the Clippers fouled Derrick Favors, a career 66.4 percent free-throw shooter. He missed the first shot and made the second, setting up a dramatic finish.While the Jazz wait to find out whether they will have Gobert for the rest of the series, the Clippers issues are just as urgent. After flaming out in each of the past three playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, the Clippers find themselves facing the prospect of going back to a raucous Salt Lake City trailing by two games if they can’t find a way to win Game 2 on Tuesday.Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points, while Paul had 25.However, the Clippers bench contributed just 12 points, while Utah’s veteran depth won out. All-Star Gordon Hayard finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Derrick Favors, thrust into a bigger role due to Gobert’s injury, finished with 15 points and six boards.After Gobert went down in the opening moment, the Clippers could not separate from the Jazz and trailed for much of the second quarter before Paul found a cutting Jamal Crawford with 1.2 seconds remaining before halftime to tie the game at 52.The Jazz took their biggest lead at 82-74 with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter when Jazz point guard George Hill banked in a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.But the outcome was in doubt until Johnson’s last shot.The game everyone assumed was over in the first seconds actually was not decided until the final second ticked off the clock.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more