Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trojans Win 2-OT Thriller Against Huskies in Conference Opener

USC and Washington started Pac-10 play in style with an exciting double-overtime contest. The Trojans, led by Nick Young, Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruitt, out dueled the Huskies 86-79.

Gibson, the breakout star for the Trojans this season, recorded his 7th double-double of the year and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Young led all scorers with 25. Pruitt, playing in only his third game of the season due to academic ineligibility, contributed 18 points, 5 rebounds and two steals.

Spencer Hawes, the highly-hyped freshman phenom for Washington, didn't disappoint. The 6-11 center had 24 points, 5 rebounds and a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime. Ryan Appleby was stellar from the outside, hitting six of nine attempts from downtown. The Huskies made half their shots from deep (13 for 26), keeping the game close throughout. Washington led 36-31 at the half.

The refs constantly blew their whistles, usually against Washington. The Huskies received 30 fouls, while the Trojans were called for 17 infractions. Questionable calls/non-calls affected the game late:

-- Young appeared to be fouled by a defender with less than five seconds left in the second half and the score tied at 64. He settled for a fadeaway and missed, sending the game to overtime.

-- Near the end of the first OT, with the score 73-70 in favor of the Trojans, the refs awarded Washington the ball with 1.4 seconds left. Replays seemed to indicate a Husky player last touched the ball before it went out of bounds. Nonetheless, Washington got the ball and made the most of it with Hawes' buzzer-beater.

-- Finally, in the second overtime Quincy Pondexter was called for a foul on what appeared to be a clean steal. The Trojans would never relinquish momentum or the lead again.

This was the first Pac-10 contest ever played in the Galen Center. Hopefully there'll be many more memorable games to come.

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