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Bluthenthal Dismisses Talk of a Slump

COLLEGE BASKETBALL DAILY REPORT / USC

January 03, 2001|MIKE TERRY

Going into the Yahoo! Sports Invitational tournament in Hawaii, David Bluthenthal was USC's hottest player, averaging 18.4 points and shooting 54.5% from the field.

But in the last five games, Bluthenthal has hit a cold streak, making only 37% of his shots (18 of 49). His scoring average has dipped to 14.4.

Bluthenthal said he's not in a slump, though. Instead, he said, he got out of his practice routine during the three-day tournament in Hawaii and it affected his rhythm.

"I usually spend a lot of time in the gym shooting, before and after practice," Bluthenthal said. "But in Hawaii I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend on my own between practice and the games. Then we came back and had to get ready for Northwestern, and I kind of slacked off.

"And before [Saturday's] Long Beach game, I spent a lot of time trying to get the team hyped up to play, being real rah-rah. That's not typical of me; I'm more of a focus kind of guy. I tried something different and it didn't work."

Bluthenthal has kept up with other parts of his game. He leads the Trojans in rebounding with an 8.7 average and is second in steals with 20.

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Bluthenthal has remained steady at the free-throw line, where he is shooting 72%. He made all 33 of his free throws in conference play last season and begins play Thursday with that streak on the line. If he makes his next nine free throws, he will break the Pac-10 record of 41 straight set by Stanford's Todd Lichti in 1989.

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