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Lost Trip Yields Few Positives

February 17, 2003|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Although USC played well for 25 minutes against Arizona on Saturday, the Trojans' lost journey to the desert, during which they were crushed by a combined 57 points by Arizona State and the top-ranked Wildcats, offered little to inspire them.

Just ask Errick Craven.

"Nah, we're supposed to beat them," said the sophomore shooting guard. "We can't take anything positive [out of being swept]."

Well, maybe Craven can.

With three steals in the two games, he tied Mark Boyd for seventh place on the USC career list with 115.

David Bluthenthal is in sixth place with 116 and Sam Clancy is fifth with 134.

Craven, who last year became the first freshman since Jason Kidd in 1993 to lead the Pacific 10 Conference in steals, with 68, is again leading the league this season with 46.


Walk-on guard Michael Mehanna played one minute at Arizona, so the only Trojan who didn't get into the nationally televised game was junior center Jonathan Oliver.

"I don't know, it's the same as the other games," said the 7-foot Oliver, who has played in six of USC's 12 conference games and acknowledged being frustrated with a lack of playing time.

"I just have to go through the process. I thought I'd get in [Saturday] but I just have to keep practicing and working hard."

Mehanna, meanwhile, is ecstatic after playing four minutes at Arizona State, where he scored two points, and one minute at Arizona.

"It's my dream come true," said Mehanna, the lone walk-on to travel on the Trojans' last two road trips. "I was at West Point in July so the last thing I thought I'd be doing now is playing at Arizona."

Mehanna leads USC's five walk-ons with seven appearances and nine points scored over 18 minutes.

"I know my role," he said. "I just try to play hard and talk to the guys, offer encouragement in the huddle."

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