Cloninger Soundoff: One (missed) shot helps spark USC

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on January 29, 2014 

It’s often nutty to point out how one play turns a basketball game. It’s a game where there are so many things happening, that to point out one — other than a game-winning shot or game-clinching block — is always questionable and sometimes foolish.

But I feel compelled. From what I saw, this was what really won Wednesday’s game.

USC led by 20 at halftime, and Texas A&M came out heavy, turning turnovers into points and turning that hefty lead into 13. As Frank Martin had to call a timeout and regroup, there were some nervous eyes in the huddle.

Out of the break, USC again turned it over, and Shawn Smith streaked downcourt. He was gone — see-ya — it’s an 11-point game, and this game is now interesting.

But he missed. Somehow, Smith missed a wide-open fast-break layup. USC rebounded, and Duane Notice sunk a basket at the other end. The Gamecocks had a spark, and after a few other close moments, earned their first SEC win.

Who knows? Perhaps we’ll all look at this in a month and remember the bricked deuce that turned everything around.

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