USC falls to Texas A&M in battle of top-20 teams as offense sputters

first_imgTwo undefeated teams tipped off at the Galen Center on Sunday: the No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies (5-0) and the No. 10 Trojans (4-0). The matchup was heralded as USC’s biggest non-conference test, a rematch against an Aggies team that returned all its starters from a year ago and added five more scholarship players. Last year, the Trojans won in College Station 65-63 after some last-second De’Anthony Melton heroics. This year, the hero sat out due to eligibility questions (he has yet to play this season), and USC missed him sorely throughout in a 75-59 loss.“It was a little different (without) De’Anthony,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “He played great last year. We just didn’t play as well as they did.”The game was supposed to be a barometer for the two teams, both national championship contenders, but USC, despite being the higher-ranked team, looked like David facing Goliath — if David forgot his slingshot.“I thought our defense was good enough to win,” Enfield said. “Our offense was not.”The Trojans trailed for most of the game, but they managed to square the score at 42 with 14:15 to play in the second half. Then, Texas A&M embarked on a 19-3 run over the next 7:41 that sucked the energy out of the Galen Center. With 8:34 remaining and the Trojans trailing by 16, Enfield called a full timeout. The team initially responded well; junior forward Bennie Boatwright, still scoreless, notched 5 points in under a minute. Then, senior guard Jordan McLaughlin pocketed a 3-pointer to cut the Aggies lead to 10. The score was 63-53 with seven minutes to play with plenty of time for a comeback. But the Trojans could not shoot well enough to overcome another deficit. For the game, USC shot 20-of-71 (28.2 percent) and 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range. Enfield said it was the worst shooting performance a USC team has had in his five years with the program.“It just deflates you,” Enfield said about missing so many shots. “We kept missing easy shots — shots the that we normally make.” McLaughlin, the captain, kept urging his teammates to shoot, but nothing was falling. “We know we have a lot of fight in us,” he said, “(but) it kind of was a little deflating.”Texas A&M’s length interfered with the Trojans’ offense. The Aggies, anchored by reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year center Robert Williams, blocked seven shots and disrupted several more plays at the rim. McLaughlin thought he missed a few floaters he otherwise would have made against a team with shorter players. USC, which has four starters who average double-digit points, is supposed to be built to win these sorts of contests. When one player goes cold, another player is expected to heat up. Against a team with great post-defense, the Trojans are supposed to compensate with more 3-pointer makes. Yet, on Sunday, every starter struggled and the offense was ice cold. Sophomore forward Nick Rakocevic did his best to spark the team off the bench — in 12 minutes in the first half, he had 11 points and six rebounds, but in the second half, he did not score.“Everyone just needs to do their job,” McLaughlin said. “Tonight, Nick did his job.” But, for USC, not enough players did.last_img read more

Security Council pressures Iran on nuke issue

first_imgUNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council demanded Wednesday that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, the first time the powerful body has directly urged Tehran to clear up suspicions that it is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran remained defiant, maintaining its right to nuclear power but insisting that it is committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and has no intention of seeking weapons of mass destruction. “Pressure and threats do not work with Iran. Iran is a country that is allergic to pressure and to threats and intimidation,” Iranian Ambassador Javad Zarif said. He later added that “Iran insists on its right to have access to nuclear technology for explicitly peaceful purposes. We will not abandon that claim to our legitimate right.” The 15-nation council unanimously approved a statement that will ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to report back in 30 days on Iran’s compliance with demands to stop enriching uranium. Members of the council wanted to reach a deal before today, when foreign ministers from the five veto-wielding council members and Germany meet in Berlin to discuss strategy on Iran. Diplomats would not say exactly what will happen if Iran does not comply with the statement within 30 days, but suggested that would be discussed by the foreign ministers in Berlin. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Diplomats portrayed the statement, which is not legally binding, as a first, modest step toward compelling Iran to make clear that its program is for peaceful purposes. The Security Council could eventually impose economic sanctions, though Russia and China say they oppose such tough measures. “The council is expressing its clear concern and is saying to Iran that it should comply with the wishes of the governing board,” France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said. The document was adopted by consensus and without a vote after a flurry of negotiations among the five veto-wielding council members. In the end, Britain, France and the United States made several concessions to China and Russia, Iran’s allies, who wanted as mild a statement as possible. Still, the Western countries said the statement expresses the international community’s shared conviction that Iran must comply with the governing board of the IAEA and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Enrichment is a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead. last_img read more