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USC's basketball team could use Greg Allen's outside help

The guard, a junior college transfer brought on for his three-point shooting, watches Trojans misfire from bench. As his defense improves, he should get more playing time.

November 13, 2011|By Baxter Holmes
  • USC coach Kevin O'Neil hopes to allow guard Greg Allen to improve his defense.
USC coach Kevin O'Neil hopes to allow guard Greg Allen to improve his… (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles…)

USC missed all 15 of its three-point shots Friday against Cal State Northridge.

It missed Greg Allen even more.

The Trojans plucked the guard from the junior college ranks largely to make three-point shots.

Yet in his USC debut, he sat on the bench for all but two minutes, watching as the Trojans kept misfiring from deep.

That should change moving forward, beginning Monday with USC's game against Nebraska at the Galen Center.

"We've got to get him some shots," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said.

Allen, who did not take a shot against Northridge, made 63 of 161 (39%) three-point shots last season at Navarro College in Texas.

But at USC, his defense is so far limited by O'Neill's standards, meaning his minutes will be limited too.

That could change.

"I've got to leave Greg out there and let him play through some mistakes," O'Neill said. "That's on me."

Allen knows his defense needs to be better, but he also knows how he can help this team most.

"When I get the opportunity to shoot it, I've got to shoot it," he said, "and I've got to knock down shots."

Height advantage

Unlike Northridge, whose tallest starter is 6 feet 6, the Cornhuskers have some big men in the middle.

Brandon Ubel is 6-10, Jorge Brian Diaz is 6-11, and Nebraska has three other players who are at least 6-10.

They should challenge USC's frontline of Dewayne Dedmon (7-0), James Blasczyk (7-1) and Aaron Fuller (6-6).

"This is going to be a test probably a little bit harder than we'd like right now," O'Neill said.

Looking at lineup

Walk-on senior guard Eric Strangis started USC's first game. Will he start the second?

"I'm not sure yet," O'Neill said. "I'd like to get to a point where we're starting Alexis [Moore], but he's got to earn it first."

Moore, a freshman guard from Long Beach Poly, played 31 minutes against the Matadors, but most of them were unimpressive.

Moore missed eight of nine shots, including seven three-pointers.

"I'm not really concerned with who starts and who doesn't," Moore said. "Minutes are minutes, whether I get two or 20."

Dedmon's debut

About 11 family members watched Dewayne Dedmon's USC debut Friday, including his mother, Gail Lewis, who forbade him from playing organized basketball for most of his life.

"She enjoyed herself," Dedmon said of his 16-point, eight-rebound performance.

Dedmon's first basket was a right-handed dunk, just like his first and only basket in high school.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

twitter.com/baxterholmes

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