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USC REPORT

Floyd has something in reserve

December 24, 2006|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — Tim Floyd delivered a harsh message without saying a word.

All one had to do was look at the starting lineup the USC coach used against No. 8-ranked Wichita State on Saturday night in the Las Vegas Classic.

Alongside regular starters Lodrick Stewart and Taj Gibson stood reserves Kevin Galloway, Dwight Lewis and Keith Wilkinson.

"I just felt like we needed to give ourselves the best opportunity to win," said Floyd, who wanted to shake things up after his team committed a season-high 28 turnovers Friday during a loss to Kansas State. "I knew they were going to carry the message from the locker room to the floor."

And what was that message?

"Ball movement without turning it over and defensively having the willingness to guard with poise and discipline and not foul," Floyd said.

Even though Wichita State took an early nine-point lead, Floyd said he was pleased with the play of his starters during the Trojans' 60-56 victory at the Orleans Arena.

Wilkinson had the best game among the new starters, scoring all four of his points in the second half, including two free throws that extended USC's lead to 55-51 with 2 minutes 1 second left.

"Those guys came in and played with a lot of poise," said freshman guard Daniel Hackett, one of the displaced starters.

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Gabe Pruitt struggled for a second consecutive game and did not score after missing all three of his shots in 16 minutes off the bench. In two games since returning from academic ineligibility, the junior guard has missed all six shots from the field and scored two points on free throws.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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