USC’s Daniel Hackett appeared to be jawing at UCLA’s Drew Gordon so
much before he got
elbowed in the face, one reporter joked that it was a self-inflicted
wound. Hackett was more energized than usual after the run-in with the
freshman forward. It helped USC when he was waving his arms in
the air to pump up the crowd. It helped UCLA when he overran his man on
defense and gave up and easy look at the basket.
After the game, coach USC coach Tim Floyd didn’t want to comment on the
incident. "That’s not the story of the game," he told reporters. "The
story of the game is ‘we got beat.’" Of course, the moment is bound to
wind up on YouTube and will be a hot button issue on internet message
boards. And in articles. And more articles.
"It was nothing, just basketball. You’re going to have times like
that," said UCLA senior point guard Darren Collison. Gordon
"always plays clean He doesn’t ever play dirty in practice. He’s a good
Hackett didn’t want to make a story out of it, either, and had
nothing but nice words for his opponents. "I know Drew. He’s going to be a
heck of a player."
"It’s a rivalry. It’s the beauty of the game," he continued.
"Lakers-Celtics, people get thrown on the ground. USC-UCLA, people get
hit in the face. It’s no big deal."
— Adam Rose
Photo: Daniel Hackett and Michael Roll tangled when UCLA visited USC. Credit: David Zentz/AP.