College Basketball: 4 OT Thriller - USC vs. Arizona - Top 10 Photos / by Brian Rothmuller

This past Saturday afternoon, the USC Trojans took on No. 7 Arizona Wildcats at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA. Anytime Arizona visits Los Angeles, it is one of the more well attended games of the season for both UCLA and USC. That is always a good thing for  a photographer as the crowds fill up the space in the background of your shots. I shot the game for Scout.com and wanted to walk you through the day, as well as highlight what I consider to be my Top 10 of frames I shot during the game.

If you want to skip ahead to the photos, scroll down.

When photographing games at USC, I get to the arena early to mark my spot on the court with tape. Other arenas have a photo captain, who you check in with when you arrive and they assign a spot for you. I picked up my media pass and dropped off my computer and extra gear in the media room before making my way to the court. Most games if I am shooting for a specific team I will shoot the direction they are heading on offense and then when they switch directions at halftime, I also switch sides. In this case, given that the photo area was going to be packed, I decided to stay in one spot the whole game.

The game was full of action. Both teams hit big shots, but USC couldn't score in the final seconds and the game went to overtime. At this point,  the game went into groundhog day mode. Another chance for USC to win, another missed shot, and a second overtime. Then, yet another chance for USC to win at the buzzer, another missed shot, and a third overtime. Here is where I panicked. I normally shoot around 1,000 frames during a basketball game. At the end of the third overtime both my memory cards were full with over 2,000 frames. I normally have an extra card on me, but in this case it was in the media room and I had to run back and get it before the start of the 4th overtime. You can never have too many cards on you; I learned my lesson. I can just imagine, the game ending on a great shot and my cards full so I wouldn't be able to capture the shot.. The game finally ended in the 4th overtime and I was able to capture one of my favorite photos I've shot for basketball. It was a long day, I shot over 2,600 frames, some were crap, others were good, but I nailed the money shot.

Without further ado, and with commentary, below I countdown what I consider to be my top 10 shots from the game. Your comments and questions are welcomed!

#10. I like how close this shot is as the player was driving to the hoop right in front of me. I always make sure I shoot the star players first. My editor isn't going to care if I get a great shot of a player who isn't someone they can feature in a story.

#10. I like how close this shot is as the player was driving to the hoop right in front of me. I always make sure I shoot the star players first. My editor isn't going to care if I get a great shot of a player who isn't someone they can feature in a story.

#9. I like the Arizona player's hand over the USC player's face as he shoots and the bench reaction in the background as the ball is shot.

#9. I like the Arizona player's hand over the USC player's face as he shoots and the bench reaction in the background as the ball is shot.

#8. At first glance, there isn't anything amazing about this shot. But if you know that two fingers at USC are a victory symbol that translates to “Fight On!” this picture is a gem and one that could be featured in promotional materials for the school. I recommend doing your homework to get these type of shots.

#8. At first glance, there isn't anything amazing about this shot. But if you know that two fingers at USC are a victory symbol that translates to “Fight On!” this picture is a gem and one that could be featured in promotional materials for the school. I recommend doing your homework to get these type of shots.

#7. When opponents shoot free throws towards the home student section, it always makes for a good photo. I always hope that I capture a student doing something crazy like taking his shirt off or a great sign in the crowd. In this case, neither happened, but it’s a nice capture of the emotion of the game.

#7. When opponents shoot free throws towards the home student section, it always makes for a good photo. I always hope that I capture a student doing something crazy like taking his shirt off or a great sign in the crowd. In this case, neither happened, but it’s a nice capture of the emotion of the game.

#6. Trying to get the game winning shot, but instead, got the game winning foul. 

#6. Trying to get the game winning shot, but instead, got the game winning foul. 

#5. Emotion. Nothing tells a story better for sports than the emotion on people's faces. The Head Coach looking up to the heavens, a student manager looking stunned and a player sinking down in disappointment. Having multiple subjects telling the story is much stronger than focusing on just one.

#5. Emotion. Nothing tells a story better for sports than the emotion on people's faces. The Head Coach looking up to the heavens, a student manager looking stunned and a player sinking down in disappointment. Having multiple subjects telling the story is much stronger than focusing on just one.

#4. I was so focused on USC's reaction to a foul in the last OT that I didn't see Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller's epic reaction until a fan behind me was talking about it. I also love the guy at the media table smiling.

#4. I was so focused on USC's reaction to a foul in the last OT that I didn't see Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller's epic reaction until a fan behind me was talking about it. I also love the guy at the media table smiling.

#3. The USC bench trying to will in free throws that ultimately would give USC the victory in the 4th overtime. Great anticipation of the moment being captured with this shot.

#3. The USC bench trying to will in free throws that ultimately would give USC the victory in the 4th overtime. Great anticipation of the moment being captured with this shot.

#2. This is my favorite bench shot. USC's Elijah Stewart's face and expression is classic. As you can see, my process in shooting big plays is going right to the bench for a reaction after the play is complete. I also like to get the fan's reactions right after the play.

#2. This is my favorite bench shot. USC's Elijah Stewart's face and expression is classic. As you can see, my process in shooting big plays is going right to the bench for a reaction after the play is complete. I also like to get the fan's reactions right after the play.

#1. I was very happy to capture this shot at the end of the game. It probably helped that I had 3 previous overtimes in the game to frame up the shot, but I feel like I nailed it. I was very aware of making sure I had the game clock in the picture and the red light on the backboard. I wish I didn't cut off the backboard on the right, but I only had a split instance to get this shot before players crossed in front of my view on the court.

#1. I was very happy to capture this shot at the end of the game. It probably helped that I had 3 previous overtimes in the game to frame up the shot, but I feel like I nailed it. I was very aware of making sure I had the game clock in the picture and the red light on the backboard. I wish I didn't cut off the backboard on the right, but I only had a split instance to get this shot before players crossed in front of my view on the court.

For the entire gallery, click here.