Michael Pittman Jr. should go down as a USC great because of games like Friday night’s. After a relatively quiet first three quarters against Colorado, the senior wide receiver exploded for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the final frame against the Buffaloes, helping the Trojans overcome a 10-point deficit and earn a tight 35-31 victory. USC hasn’t had a ton of big games as Pittman has ascended to stardom, but it’s pretty difficult to think of one he didn’t show up for. Even as a seldom-used sophomore in 2017, Pittman made a massive impact in the contests that mattered most. Over a three-game span at the end of the season, he caught a third-down touchdown to jump start the offense in the team’s Pac-12 South-clinching win over Colorado, returned a punt for a score on a trick play against rival UCLA and exploded for seven receptions, 146 yards and a touchdown in USC’s close win over Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Pittman definitely fits that bill. Perhaps it’s a result of being the son of a long-time NFL running back, but Pittman seems to have a level of comfort under pressure and an understanding of these big moments that few players do. Besides his prolific performance against Utah, Pittman isn’t likely to show up in the USC record books in a major way. He could find his way into the program’s top 10 in all-time touchdown receptions, but his reception and receiving yard numbers won’t be nearly great enough to match all-time greats like Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Because Pittman didn’t become a prominent member of the offense until his junior year, he just hasn’t had enough time to make that sort of impression with cumulative numbers. 2018 doesn’t bring back fond memories for any USC fan, but Pittman was a silver lining for much of it. “The line just opened up and Kedon just threw a great ball. It just kept me in stride and I just kind of ran around the defense,” Pittman said of the clincher. Pittman’s performance this season has him shooting up NFL draft boards, and for good reason. He is showcasing not only a well-rounded skill set, but a propensity for excelling when the lights shine the brightest, which NFL teams love. But for the last few years, Pittman has been doing something that has greater long-term significance: solidifying himself as a certifiable Trojan great. Pittman was the biggest reason the Trojans nearly beat BYU and stayed within striking distance of Washington on the road. And Friday night, when USC needed a win to continue to control its own destiny in the South, he willed the team to victory with his dominant fourth quarter. His six catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado (man, Buffalo fans won’t miss seeing No. 6 out there) were crucial to a team that, at that point, felt it could win the division again. USC fell apart at the end of the season, but it was certainly no fault of Pittman’s; he averaged six receptions for 109.8 yards and a touchdown per game over his final five contests. But Pittman will leave his legacy on this program for his reputation as a big-game player. People may forget Pittman’s first two catches on the game-winning drive, one of which was a tough, contested grab on third-and-10, because of how the possession ended. Pittman took a pass over the middle and turned on the jets to speed past the defenders before diving across the goal line for the go-ahead 37-yard score with just over two minutes left. Pittman’s 77-yard touchdown, in which he beat a defender to a jump ball and held off another on a long run to the end zone as the Coliseum erupted around him, is likely to be the defining play of this season. Pittman got to work almost immediately in the fourth quarter, reeling in a 44-yard touchdown along the left sideline with 11 and a half minutes left. He burned the Buffaloes on a vertical route, finding the hole between the cornerback and the safety in a blown coverage and retaining possession through a hit that forced his chin strap over his mouth. Guys who raise their games in the most important moments are incredibly valuable to their teams and earn the undying loyalty of their fanbases. It’s why Patriots and Lakers fans won’t hear a word against receiver Julian Edelman or former guard Derek Fisher — those guys don’t have the numbers to qualify as all-timers, but they both have a track record of coming through in the biggest moments. Expectations were high entering this season, and Pittman has certainly delivered. His 10-reception, 232-yard and two-touchdown game against a tough Utah secondary was one of the best receiving performances in USC history, which is not a statement to be taken lightly. Aidan Berg is a junior writing about sports. He is also an associate managing editor for Daily Trojan. His column, “Berg is the Word,” runs every Monday.
Published on December 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm Contact Josh: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+ WASHINGTON — One week after tying its best offensive output of the season, Syracuse lost 89-79 to Georgetown on Saturday afternoon in Capital One Arena. Buddy Boeheim, who didn’t score in the first half, led all scorers with 25 points while Elijah Hughes added 21. For the Hoyas, sophomore guard Mac McClung scored 26 points while center Omer Yurtseven added 19 points and nine rebounds. Below are three takeaways from the Syracuse (5-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) loss. A zone with holes The obvious soft spot in the Syracuse zone, the high post area, was exploited to no end on Saturday. Georgetown repeatedly hammered the ball in between the top two men of the zone with a bounce pass. From there, the options were plentiful and all of them led to points. A Hoyas player, sometimes a streaking guard in Terell Allen, would either pull up for a jump shot, or force the defense to collapse around him. Wherever the pressure came from, the Hoyas sent the ball in that direction for open 3-pointers or easy buckets from the wing. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGeorgetown finished 11-of-25 from 3-point land including a 4-of-5 start to the game that boosted its first half scoring.When the Orange attempted to mount a comeback late in the second half, they shifted to a full court press, a defense Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has noted in the past is not a strength for this team. The ball whipped through the mid-court, with nothing but a Syracuse foul stopping the charing Hoyas. The plays often ended with a few passes and a Yurtseven dunk or Hoyas free throws.Big MacGeorgetown separated from Syracuse at the end of the first half behind a string of points from McClung. The 6-foot-2 guard ran free in the fast break for several layups off Syracuse turnovers. Then, as Georgetown possessed the ball with less than 10 seconds remaining, McClung pulled up from beyond the arc with a Syracuse defender in his face and swished a 3-pointer. With his tongue hanging out of his mouth and fans screaming, McClung looked toward the bench and pointed down on the court in celebration. In need of helpThroughout the first half, Syracuse just needed another scorer. As he’d done against Georgia Tech, Hughes scored seemingly at will, hitting turnaround and mid-range jumpers, and 3-pointers, when Syracuse needed baskets. But through one half of play, Elijah Hughes had 18 points and no other Syracuse player had double-digit points. While Hughes kept Syracuse in the game, no other Orange player helped push past Georgetown. The misses came from several areas, and sometimes were mishaps before the ball went toward the basket. On one play, Howard Washington threw the ball to where he though Joe Girard III would be – but wasn’t – and the pass sailed out of bounds. On another, Buddy committed an offensive foul. A couple Girard drives to the basket resulted in turnovers and not the fouls the Syracuse bench pleaded for. In the second half, Buddy’s shots started to fall. He converted on 7-of-13 3-pointers, many with a defender in his face from the wing. What started as a Hughes shooting brigade turned into an offense finding ways for Buddy to score.But by the time Syracuse found its scoring touch, it was too late. The press was weak and Georgetown couldn’t be stopped. Comments
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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has taken note of last week’s decision of the Supreme Court of Liberia, placing a six-month suspension on the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Cllr. Christiana P. Tah.According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader is holding consultations with eminent lawyers and legal professionals, including former Chief Justices and former Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, to fully comprehend the implications of the Court’s decision, especially as it relates to the executive powers of the President.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)