The Arizona basketball team was having a pleasant afternoon in Los Angeles, shooting a bunch of 3s, making a bunch of 3s, having a good time.
But you know what they say: It’s all fun and games until someone gets slapped in the face.
There are many ways to take a shot at someone in a basketball game. Swinging your elbows after a rebound. Flailing your forearms as you post up. There’s even the “on-ball” defense Eddie House once used against Gilbert Arenas.
But I’ve never before seen the open-handed pimp slap that Oregon State’s Joe Burton used against the UA’s Kevin Parrom. Kinda hard to get away with that one.
The slap and subsequent ejection were the talk after the game because, without it, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama in the 2nd half. OSU scored the first bucket after intermission to cut the lead to one but two minutes later the gap was 10 and the Wildcats kept the Beavers at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Not much to talk about until Burton kept Parrom’s face at arm’s length.
Did it have an effect on the game? Not really. Oregon State had gone scoreless for 2:20 before the technical; they went scoreless for 3:03 after the technical. The better, more-rested team looked better in the 2nd half…and more rested.
Of course, the game is so much easier when you make a bunch of 3s.
I’m going to offer that up as the best strategy against USC. The Cats aren’t suddenly going to get bigger on the inside. The UA guards aren’t going to transform into Kemba-esque step-back assassins. Work the ball around (with crisp passes, please), find the open 3-point shots, and knock them down.
Do that and it’ll be another pleasant day in Los Angeles.
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