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This Time, Reynolds Makes Shot That Gives Oregon Win Over USC

February 05, 1989|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

When Oregon's basketball team is down to its last shot, the Ducks usually put the ball in the hands of forward Randy Grant.

Last month, Grant hit a last-second shot to beat USC, 64-62, at Oregon.

In Saturday's rematch at the Sports Arena, the Ducks worked the ball in to Grant for a shot in the final seconds with the score tied, 68-68.

Grant didn't hit the shot, but teammate Keith Reynolds slammed in the miss with 2 seconds remaining to give Oregon a 70-68 victory before 2,147 fans.

The Trojans had three defenders assigned to Grant, and USC guard Tyrone Fuller was checking Oregon guard Frank Johnson, who had a game-high 27 points. But Reynolds raced in unchecked to make the game-winner.

"We felt they'd go to Grant or Johnson (for the last shot)," USC Coach George Raveling said. "The reason there was nobody blocking out on Reynolds is that we left him open on the high post. The defense worked, but Reynolds came out of nowhere and made a good athletic move and got the tip."

Reynolds was surprised that nobody blocked him out on the final play.

"I was wide-open," Reynolds said. "It was just right there."

Raveling thought Reynolds should have been called for offensive goaltending because he appeared to touch the ball while it was still in the cylinder. But the officials allowed the basket.

Those are the breaks, and they usually go against the Trojans (7-14), who blew an eight-point halftime lead. They have lost 10 straight games and remain the only winless team (0-10) in the Pacific 10 Conference.

"If you believe in existentialism, you'd believe there was a curse on us," Raveling said. "Our kids definitely haven't quit. This tells me a lot about their inner strength. It just doesn't seem fair the way things are happening. Maybe the Lord has a surprise waiting for us. Maybe we'll be rewarded at the Forum (site of the Pac-10 tournament)."

Raveling was frustrated after his team had its heart broken again. The Trojans have lost six games by four points or fewer this season.

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"The unfortunate thing about athletes is that you're judged by your won-lost record, but I don't think that these kids are losers," he said. "It takes more courage to do what they're doing every week than it does to go out and maintain a position in the top 10."

Don Monson, Oregon coach, empathized with Raveling.

"He really has bad luck at the end of games," Monson said.

The Ducks haven't had much better luck lately. Oregon (8-12, 3-7), mired in eighth place in the Pac-10, hadn't won a road game in 6 1/2 weeks until Saturday.

The Ducks' woes continued in the first half, as they shot just 30.8% and fell behind, 31-23, at halftime. Oregon had more fouls than baskets in the first half.

"We had a little prayer meeting at halftime," Monson said. "I've got to commend my kids for the way they played in the second half."

Johnson brought Oregon back in the second half, scoring 22 points, including five three-point shots, in the final 20 minutes.

"Two of them were NBA three-point shots," Raveling said. "If (Clipper owner Donald) Sterling had been here, he probably would have been excited."

USC Notes

The Trojans' 10-game losing streak is their longest since they lost 16 straight games during the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons. . . . USC guard Tyrone Fuller posted career highs of 17 points and 7 assists. Fuller has had an opportunity to play because guard Anthony Pendleton is nursing a sore back. Chris Moore also had 17 points. . . . Trojan forward Ronnie Coleman had 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was his sixth double-double of the season.

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