USC center Yamen Sanders' role last season was to rebound and play defense. He wasn't expected to score, because the Trojans had forward Ronnie Coleman, USC's all-time leading scorer.
But the graduation of Coleman left a scoring void inside. Sanders was shut out in the Trojans' first two games.
He got more involved in the Trojan offense Saturday, scoring a personal-best 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds as USC defeated Cal State Sacramento, 107-94, in a nonconference game before 1,876 at the Sports Arena.
"It was a game better not played," USC Coach George Raveling said. "If someone came over from Red China and you brought them to their first college basketball game and told them how exciting it was, he'd have gone back to Peking and said they play better ball on the playground of Peking."
Trojan guard Harold Miner had 25 points in 30 minutes, making 10 of 19 shots, including two three-pointers. Raveling rested Miner for the final 10 1/2 minutes.
"We didn't play Harold Miner in the later stages of the game because it was an opportunity for us to play without him off the floor," Raveling said.
"There'll be other situations like that this year. I think we need to learn how to play when Harold isn't scoring well."
Miner, who suffered a bruised left foot while scoring a personal-best 43 points during the Trojans' 93-84 loss at Nebraska Monday night, scored 19 points in the first half as USC (2-1) took a 65-58 lead.
With Miner on the bench in the second half, Sanders went to work, scoring 15 points. Sanders, who had averaged 15 minutes in the Trojans' first two games, got more playing time because reserve forward Lorenzo Orr, who had averaged 23.5 minutes this season, was held out for violating team academic rules.
"We haven't run much set offense in the first couple of games, but we put in some specific plays for Yamen because we were trying to get him involved in the offense," Raveling said. "We wanted him to get at least 10 shots."
Sanders made nine of 15 shots, including seven of 11 during the second half. He also had two blocked shots, two assists and one steal in 26 minutes.
"I think we have to get some scoring inside," Sanders said. "We can't just rely on outside jumpers all the time."
A rebounder and defensive specialist last season, Sanders is trying to become more offensive minded.
"My game is basically rebounding and getting garbage points," Sanders said. "Scoring is something I had to work on."
The Trojans were a one-man team in the first two games as Miner averaged 37.5 points. However, they got more balanced scoring against the Hornets as seven players scored in double figures. Reserve guard Rodney Chatman had 12 points, and guard Duane Cooper and forward Keith Greeley had 11 points apiece. Guard Phil Glenn and swingman Tim Vanitvelt each had 10 points.
Guard Charlo Davis, a transfer from Los Angeles City College, scored 31 points to lead Cal State Sacramento (0-4). Davis, who had 25 points during the first half, made 11 of 15 shots, including eight of 10 three-point shots.
"Charlo Davis has got NBA range," Raveling said. "He's definitely a Pac-10 player."
Coach George Raveling refused to specify the academic rules violated by benched forward Lorenzo Orr, who had averaged 11 points and 7.5 rebounds. "He received one warning and until he decides to adhere to team rules, he won't be an active participant," Raveling said. . . .
The 30 minutes that USC guard Harold Miner played were the fewest he has played since he played 28 in last season's opener against Chicago State. . . . Cal State Sacramento made 14 three-point shots, the most any team has made against the Trojans. The previous record was held by Arizona made 13 in 1988.