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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | EAST NOTES

Trojans Giving Up a Little in the Hope of Gaining a Lot

March 24, 2001|SAM FARMER and MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

PHILADELPHIA — To help the Trojans bond during the NCAA tournament, Coach Henry Bibby asked them to sacrifice something they like.

Jeff Trepagnier gave up junk food. Brandon Granville gave up juices. Jarvis Turner gave up red meat. Sam Clancy gave up video games and sweets.

"I'm glad we're winning. But I'm running out of things to give up," Clancy said with a smile.

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Twenty-two years ago, Duke had a bad experience against Sam Clancy--as in Sam Clancy Sr., father of the Trojan forward.

On Feb. 10, 1979, the senior Clancy was a forward on an average Pittsburgh team that traveled to Durham, N.C., to play Duke, then ranked third in the nation. He was better known as a football player, going on to play in the NFL, but that night he helped Pittsburgh upset the Blue Devils, 71-69.

Sam Clancy Sr. had 23 points and 13 rebounds and made the winning basket with two seconds left after stealing the ball from Bob Bender (now coaching at Washington) and going the length of the court to score.

"I remember Sam's father well," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He was a voracious rebounder and competitor. His son is also a competitor, and a better shooter."

Clancy said he and his father hadn't brought up his past college basketball games in the times they've talked during the tournament. "He's just been excited about what we've done."

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In its school-record three tournament victories, USC has led each game at halftime. But it was the quick start against Oklahoma State in the first round that took the edge off for the Trojans and made them feel at ease. They had a 48-19 advantage after their first 20 minutes in the tournament.

"It was real important our first game," point guard Granville said. "It was a new experience for everybody on the team, even coaches, and to come out that strong and build a big lead against Oklahoma State, it kind of relieved a lot of the pressure and a lot of the anxiety off the players.

"I was kind of nervous coming out in the first game. But now with these games it's kind of like we belong. We're supposed to be here, so I feel a lot more comfortable out on the court."

USC's pattern hasn't escaped the notice of Krzyzewski.

"They've gotten off to the best starts of any team in the tournament," he said. "We have to get off to a start that matches theirs. It has to be one of our goals."

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Duke's Mike Dunleavy, whose right arm went numb briefly after a collision with UCLA's Earl Watson on Thursday, will be available today.

"Mike's injury is still there, but not at the level we thought it would be," Krzyzewski said. "We think with another day he'll be close to 100%."

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For some USC players, the excitement of playing top-seeded Duke makes up for the letdown over not facing UCLA in the East Regional final and settling the score for the Bruins' regular-season sweep.

"I don't know if they would have beaten us a third time," Trepagnier said. "It would have been a tough game. I'm not disappointed. They just had an off night, and in the tournament you can't have those."

Granville chuckled when asked if he was disappointed the Bruins lost.

"I definitely wanted another shot at them," he said. "Losing to them is kind of tough. It's our archrival, and to get a chance to play them for the chance to get to the Final Four? The stakes would have been a lot higher this time. If we had won, nobody would have remembered the first two games then."

*

Win or lose, USC returns to Los Angeles Sunday morning, on US Air flight 17 at 11:26 a.m.

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