February 22, 2005 |
The reason last-place USC was able to pull off season sweeps of Arizona State and California? In a word -- confidence. "We already beat them [once] before so we felt like we could do it again," Trojan senior power forward Jeff McMillan said. And the rationale the Trojans are giving this week for believing they can beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion despite having blown an 18-point halftime lead at the Sports Arena on Jan. 29 in a 72-69 defeat that ended USC's four-game winning streak in the rivalry?
February 14, 2005 |
Although the defensive dexterity of Jeff McMillan and the combined offensive prowess of Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt were the obvious catalysts in USC's slump-busting 82-71 defeat of Arizona State on Saturday, interim Coach Jim Saia was also quick to point out the leadership exhibited by Dwayne Shackleford. Leadership from a first-year player who had appeared in only three Pacific 10 Conference games to that point? "I ain't got no choice but to get in there ...
February 16, 2005 |
While USC interim Coach Jim Saia readily admits that Stanford is not the same team without leading scorer Dan Grunfeld, Saia also is leery of the effect the absence will have when the Trojans meet the Cardinal on Thursday night at Palo Alto. Grunfeld, a junior swingman whose 17.9 scoring average is second in the Pacific 10 Conference, was lost for the season Saturday when he suffered a torn ligament in his right knee while attempting a layup in transition in a victory against California.
February 5, 2005 |
In the wake of Thursday night's 30-point loss to No. 13 Washington, USC sophomore guard Lodrick Stewart blasted his teammates, saying the Trojans had quit. Friday, with USC preparing to face the run-and-gun Huskies' alter-ego, slow-it-down Washington State, his teammates shrugged off Stewart's criticisms. "You know how Lod is," senior forward Jeff McMillan said of the mercurial Stewart. "I haven't quit. We've just got to keep going forward, keep working hard.
December 18, 2005 |
USC Coach Tim Floyd has attributed much of the Trojans' success during a six-game winning streak to losing their first two games and "treating teams with respect" as a result. That trend might be hard to sustain this afternoon when USC plays winless Alcorn State at the Sports Arena. The Braves, in the midst of a season-opening stretch of 11 road games, are 0-6, with losses to Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin. Alcorn State's leading scorer, junior forward Clifton Douglass, averages 14.
December 19, 2005 |
Dwayne Shackleford did not play against Alcorn State on Sunday after experiencing swelling in the same knee that bothered him most of last season, but the senior guard said he expected to return for USC's game against No. 19 North Carolina on Wednesday. Shackleford was limited to 16 games last season after tearing cartilage in his left knee on the first day of practice.
November 23, 2005 |
Gabe Pruitt hopes the temperature is the only thing here that dips into the teens. After shooting 15% (three for 20) and going 0 for 10 in three-point attempts Sunday during USC's 81-76 overtime loss to Cal State Northridge, the sophomore guard said he was eager to redeem himself. He'll get the chance tonight against Oral Roberts in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout. "This is a new game," Pruitt said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm ready to come back and come back strong."
January 7, 2007 |
Several USC players said they had been looking forward to a matchup against an unbeaten and top-ranked UCLA team next Saturday at the Galen Center. But the Bruins will probably be neither following their 68-66 loss to the Ducks on Saturday. One thing they probably will be: ready to play. "I think UCLA will come out that much hungrier because they're coming off a loss," USC junior guard Gabe Pruitt said.
March 7, 2006 |
The shot chart has been nearly as reliable a predictor of USC's success this season as the final score. In their 17 victories, the Trojans have averaged 15.9 three-point attempts. In their 12 defeats, they've averaged 23.0 long-range shots. Saturday, that figure ballooned to a season-high 35 during a 71-60 loss to California at Haas Pavilion. "We don't want to settle for that many threes," said sophomore guard Gabe Pruitt, who attempted a team-high 10 three-pointers.
January 9, 2006 |
USC's defense, a strength as the Trojans' men's basketball team won nine consecutive games and 10 of 11, suddenly isn't what it used to be. The Trojans have yielded season-worst field-goal percentages in back-to-back games. First, Arizona State shot 51.1% in a 66-65 USC victory last Thursday. Then Arizona connected on 52.8% Saturday during a 74-63 victory at the McKale Center.