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USC FYI

Huskies have an edge on the boards

Washington uses a 40-30 rebounding advantage to defeat Trojans.

February 22, 2009|Chris Foster

Of all the numbers that USC players could point to after a 60-51 loss to Washington on Saturday, the one they kept coming back to was in the rebound column.

Washington 40, USC 30.

"They took advantage of us on the boards, which they've done to most teams," USC Coach Tim Floyd said. "They were able to go back and get second-chance opportunities and second possessions, even at the free throw line. You have to credit their effort."

The Trojans rarely have it happen to them. They have held a rebounding edge in 20 games this season and came into the game with a plus-5.9 rebound edge. But Taj Gibson finished with two rebounds, seven below his average.

"That was one of the big reasons we lost," Gibson said.

Jon Brockman, his counterpart, had 14 rebounds. Brockman had five offensive rebounds as Washington had an 18-11 edge in that area.

"Brockman is a load," Floyd said. "He really controlled the boards."

Washington shakes

his struggles

The better news for the Trojans was an improved game from freshman forward Leonard Washington, who has struggled through conference play because of a high ankle sprain.

Washington had one of his most active games since being injured. He finished with nine points, six rebounds and four steals, though he also had four turnovers.

Washington had four points and an assist on USC's first three possessions.

"We faced a big rebounding team, so I figured if I could help on the boards, we could win the game," the 6-foot-7 Washington said.

Washington is closer to 100% but said he is still rusty.

"It's not so much a shape thing," Washington said. "I've just got to get back into the groove of basketball. I focused better today."

It was a start, apparently.

"I thought he played better," Floyd said. "He was more active."

--

chris.foster@latimes.com

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