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USC-UCLA REPORT

Stewart: Technical didn't cost game

February 08, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

The most chatty Trojan wasn't saying anything.

Senior guard Lodrick Stewart remained mostly mum late Wednesday night when asked about his technical foul that proved to be perhaps the most pivotal play in No. 2 UCLA's 70-65 comeback victory over No. 19 USC at Pauley Pavilion.

"I don't even want to talk about it," Stewart said. "They won the game."

The Trojans were leading, 52-50, with less than five minutes remaining when UCLA sophomore swingman Josh Shipp scored on a putback and drew a foul from USC junior swingman Nick Young. Stewart spiked the ball in frustration to earn the technical foul, which turned into a five-point play for the Bruins after Arron Afflalo was awarded an additional pair of free throws.

Trojans Coach Tim Floyd benched Stewart for the final 4:25 even though he had made six of eight shots and scored 13 points.

"We obviously would not like to have had that play occur," Floyd said. "It was disappointing."

Stewart was already emotionally charged after learning earlier in the week that his great-grandfather had died and his mother was hospitalized because of a nervous breakdown. He came out with an inspired first half, scoring 11 points on five-for-six shooting.

Stewart said he did not think his technical foul cost the Trojans a victory.

"Not really," he said. "They made a run. That's part of basketball."

Junior guard Gabe Pruitt said the technical "was pretty big. It came at a critical moment. They were two free throws I wish we could have had back. It changed the momentum a little bit."

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Shipp, who did not play in the teams' first meeting because of a hamstring injury, scored all nine of his points in the final 6:10.

Shipp made only one of five shots from the field but converted all seven free-throw attempts.

*

The Trojans flustered the Bruins for much of the game with a 2-3 zone defense, zipping to a 10-point lead in the first half as UCLA struggled to adjust.

"That really helped us out a lot," Stewart said. "It kind of slowed down a lot of their plays."

Floyd said he decided to go back to the man-to-man defense in crunch time because of a few breakdowns with the zone.

"Late, you want to go play with your bread and butter," Floyd said.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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