After storming back from a 13-point deficit in the final nine minutes, the USC men’s basketball team found themselves trailing 69-66 with the ball and only eight seconds remaining.Closing time · In his last collegiate game, senior point guard Jio Fontan scored six points and dished out seven assists in USC’s season-ending 69-66 loss to Utah in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan Senior forward Eric Wise threw an outlet pass to sophomore guard Byron Wesley, but Wesley fumbled shortly after gaining possession. The final buzzer sounded before either team could regain possession, sealing the win for the Utes and ending the Trojans’ season.“I thought we were getting ready to have a really good look,” USC interim head coach Bob Cantu said. “It worked out how we wanted it to defensively, but we weren’t able to get a shot attempt.”USC’s final opportunity to tie the game came after Cantu elected not to foul Utah with just a five-second differential between the shot clock and game clock. Utah’s Jarred DuBois missed a jumper with nine seconds left to give the ball back to the Trojans, but USC was unable to take advantage.The Trojans finish with a 14-18 record on the year, a record skewed by arguably the nation’s toughest schedule but one still indicative of progress made from last year. The Trojans improved their win total by eight from their 6-26 campaign in 2011-12 and won nine Pac-12 games after winning just one last year.“We weren’t able to get stops at key points in the game,” Cantu said. “We made great runs and cut [the lead] down, and then they would hit a good shot or DuBois would get to the rim and score a layup.”In the absence of junior forward Dewayne Dedmon, who led the Trojans in rebounds and blocks this season, junior center Omar Oraby received the start and played his finest game of the season and perhaps his career. Oraby led USC with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and had two critical 3-point plays down the stretch to fuel the Trojans’ comeback effort. Oraby played a career-high 35 minutes, far surpassing his previous high of 26, and committed just one foul up until the final minute, when USC fouled the Utes while playing catch-up.Still, the absence of Dedmon and senior center James Blasczyk, were suspended indefinitely following a report of USC basketball players’ involvement in a fight in downtown Spokane, Wash. last Sunday morning, was evident, even if the USC players wouldn’t say so.“We prepared without them, so we were prepared to win without them,” senior point guard Jio Fontan said. “We just didn’t put it through. Utah did a good job.”Junior guard J.T. Terrell had 14 points and six rebounds for the Trojans, while Wise had 12 points and nine rebounds in a game that resulted in a postgame locker-room scene full of tears and disbelief.“I’m disappointed in myself,” Wise said. “People look at you to make shots. When you don’t do that, you have to live with that.”It looked like the Trojans’ season was coming to an ugly end when Utah’s Jordan Loveridge hit a 3-pointer to put the Utes up 60-47 with 8:33 to go. After 30 minutes of sloppiness and a lack in communication, the Trojans looked finished. They weren’t.Wise scored seven points to ignite a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to 60-59 with 3:46 to go. A pair of clutch jumpers by DuBois helped put Utah back up by six with 1:57 to go, but a layup by Wesley and an incredible 30-footer by Terrell made it 69-66 with 41 seconds left. The Trojans’ defense held steady on the final Utes possession but simply could not control the ball when it mattered most, fumbling away their final chance to complete the comeback.
A group of bankers including senior and middle-level bank managers and owners of several Liberian-own small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Thursday, May 1, began a two-day “Basic Impact Investing” opportunity seminar in Monrovia to boost their entrepreneurial skills.Banks participating in the seminar included the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Guaranty Trust Bank, Ecobank Liberia Limited and International Bank Limited, amongst others. They were joined by the World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU) an, international credit union providing access to finance to SMEs in several developing economies in the world and a host of Liberian-owned SMEs, amongst others.The two-day seminar is organized by the US Agency for International Development-USAID-funded Liberia Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) Program, implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), which supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in accessing commercial bank financing in the country.The workshop is aimed at teaching participants how to better understand the impact of investment and how it differs from traditional investment and what tools they would need to find investment capital for businesses.Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seminar, which is being held at a local hotel in Monrovia, the independent consultant, founder and principal strategist for Impact Investors in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Bob Bragar, said the impact of investing is about bringing money to Liberia to expand job and SMEs in ensuring that most business entrepreneurial can invest more capital to SME businesses that are in need of capital.Mr. Bragar, however, noted that it is good to know who your investors are, because, according to him, “they have committed themselves to upholding ethical principles in finance.”He hinted participants that the reason the seminar was organized by IBEX is because he, Bragar, wants Liberians to understand what impact investing is, adding that there is an international capital available for impact investors.According to him, donor funding is different from impact investment, which he said is all about business set-up.Mr. Bragar further disclosed that there is strong desire of USAID-IBEX to ensure that Liberian business entrepreneurs gain the required knowledge that would better their businesses.He observed that lot of people are lacking information that they need to know in order to boost the Liberian economy.Mr. Bragar insisted that investors needed to be motivated in order to increase their expectations.“You need to understand the different motivations and kinds of investors, because they would set-up tunes that you will have to dance to,” Mr. Bragar told participants.In the investing world, it also means creating good structures to ensure that the business is properly “governed,” and as such there should be an independent, qualified and engaged board of directors that would manage the businesses.At the same time, the international consultant urged participants to be prepared at any time to show solid financial history and projections of their businesses.For her part, Madam Watchen Harris Bruce, Chief of Party for USAID Liberia Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) reiterated that her institution is ready to address some of the constraints SMEs are facing in getting access to finance.Madam Bruce further said that people needed to know what the banks require and what they needed to present to investors before getting access to loan.Meanwhile, one of the participants thanked the facilitator and organizer of the workshop and assured that they will put into practice whatever new knowledge they are going to learn from the seminar.The seminar is expected to end today, Friday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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