March 25, 2011 |
USC's rebuilding basketball program on Friday was shaken at its foundation. Nikola Vucevic, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, announced he would sign with an agent and make himself available for the NBA draft a year early. "It's the second year in a row that we've lost four of our top six [players] and 70% of our scoring during sanctions," Coach Kevin O'Neill said. "My job is to make sure we're better. Whether we can do that or not, I don't know. " Vucevic averaged 17.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and was first-team all-Pacific 10 Conference.
March 15, 2011 |
As USC's charter flight took off from Los Angeles about noon Monday, the band members, seated near the rear of the Boeing 737 jet, began singing an a cappella version of "Conquest," USC's battle cry. It's their tradition for road-game travel, whether commercial or charter, and USC's song girls and spirit leaders joined in, making the Trojans' trip here for an NCAA tournament first-round game against Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday feel a...
November 13, 2010 |
The takeoff for USC's basketball season wasn't so smooth Saturday, but the result was a 62-49 win over UC Irvine at the Galen Center. If the opener is an indicator, the Trojans and their fans might be in for a bumpy ride, at least until junior guard Jio Fontan becomes eligible in December, when he could give the young, depth-deprived squad a much-needed boost. For now, the idea of advancing to a postseason tournament one season removed from a postseason ban is the least of USC's worries.
November 28, 2009 |
A sign hangs at every stall in the USC locker room, emphasizing the need to "always nurture the soul of our team." That's been a hard task for a Trojans team playing without several missing parts. But the return of forwards Marcus Johnson and Alex Stepheson in Friday's 74-43 victory over Coppin State at the Galen Center at least provided comfort to a team that hadn't fielded more than an eight-man roster. Stepheson had missed the first two games because of a left knee injury, but his absence was much longer.
March 10, 2011 |
Not long after tipoff Thursday, USC's disaster sirens blared. Its top-notch defense: absent. Its star player: benched with foul trouble. Its deficit: ever-extending. But the fourth-seeded Trojans' youthful backcourt and their unassuming "monster" in the middle stepped up to shut down fifth-seeded California, 70-56, in the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center. USC kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive as it enters into a tantalizing rematch with top-seeded Arizona in a Friday semifinal at 6 p.m. "We played with a sense of desperation, I thought," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said.
January 27, 2011 |
The score was close, the time running out, the crowd on its feet, the building rumbling and rocking. But for USC, its exhilarating, back-and-forth second half Thursday against Arizona State at Wells Fargo Arena, where 7,638 raucous fans bore down, was nothing new. "It kind of looked familiar," junior guard Jio Fontan said. It should have. Entering Thursday, USC had played in nine games decided by six or fewer points this season. And seven had been losses, four on the game's final possession.