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USC hopes to break up-and-down trend

The Trojans split their last two full weekends of Pac-10 play, winning the first game each time. Coming off a victory Thursday, USC will be trying to finish strong Saturday against Oregon.

February 11, 2011|By Baxter Holmes
  • USC forward Alex Stepheson grabs a rebound during the Trojans' 67-56 victory over Oregon State on Thursday. USC will be looking for another win Saturday against visiting Oregon.
USC forward Alex Stepheson grabs a rebound during the Trojans' 67-56… (Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire )

In the typical Thursday-Saturday Pacific 10 Conference schedule, USC has recently developed an easily followed trend.

Up, then down.

Up as the Trojans (13-11, 5-6 in Pacific 10 Conference play) often play well and win the first game; down as they struggle and lose the second.

It happened in back-to-back weeks in late January, first against Stanford and California and then against Arizona State and Arizona.

So, coming off a win Thursday against Oregon State, USC's goal Saturday against Oregon (12-12, 5-7) at the Galen Center is to stay up.

"We've got to get it sooner or later, so hopefully this is it," junior guard Jio Fontan said.

One issue the Trojans will have to work around is fatigue. USC typically uses seven players and typically during conference action, six play 30 minutes or more.

"Our first game Thursday we'll be fresh, but by the time Saturday comes around, we might be tired a little bit," freshman guard Maurice Jones said.

Coach Kevin O'Neill wasn't completely buying that excuse.

"We're just not mature enough to play up to being great on the second night," he said.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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