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Nikola Vucevic

SPORTS
December 11, 2009 | By Baxter Holmes
'Tis the season for giving, and the USC basketball team has been most charitable, giving opponents a hefty bounty of extra possessions this month -- 61 turnovers in three games. Two of those were losses against ranked teams from Texas and Georgia Tech, the third a win over Sacramento State on Tuesday when the Trojans had a season-high 25 turnovers. It's a problem, but one Coach Kevin O'Neill said won't be fixed quickly; the team is short-handed and waiting for two players to become eligible.
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SPORTS
February 10, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Kevin O'Neill boiled the eight games his team had left into a mini-season. Then USC's coach gathered his players during their first practice after last week's loss to UCLA and spread the word. Win half, plus maybe an extra win or two to be on the safe side, and they'd have enough capital to earn an NIT invitation. But, if not, just stitch some wins together to have steam heading into the Pacific 10 Conference tournament at Staples Center. The Trojans' mini-season opened with Oregon State on Thursday at the Galen Center, and USC took care of business with a 67-56 victory in front of 3,853.
SPORTS
December 11, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
The Trojans sulked inside their huddle, their double-digit lead whittled away to almost nothing. Their opponent had momentum and energy, needing only a good second-half push to knock a teetering team over. Then, a USC captain spoke up. "It's time to win," senior guard Donte Smith told his teammates. Out of that huddle, Smith did it himself, scoring 14 consecutive points during a game-deciding 14-3 run that gave USC a 60-52 win against Northern Arizona at the Galen Center on Saturday.
SPORTS
February 4, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
The halfway point of USC's postseason-denied conference basketball season is here -- and some Trojans were happy to apply something of a midterm grade to the team, which is 12-9 overall and 4-5 in Pacific 10 Conference play. Senior guard Dwight Lewis wasn't lenient: C-minus. "I don't think we've put too many whole games together," he said. Fellow senior Mike Gerrity was a tad more generous: B-minus. "I think we've had some good spurts along the way," he said. Coach Kevin O'Neill gave his team an "A" for effort, the only category he cares about.
SPORTS
January 10, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
On Sunday, USC's Kevin O'Neill earned something of a hat trick. His Trojans beat crosstown rival UCLA, 63-52, for the third straight time since he was hired as USC's men's basketball coach in 2009. While O'Neill won't downplay his recent success against UCLA and Bruins Coach Ben Howland, he won't say he has Howland's number, either. "No, I don't think that at all," O'Neill said Monday. "I would never be crazy enough to think that. " O'Neill's head-to-head record against Howland is 3-2 overall, the losses coming when he was Arizona's interim head coach in the 2007-08 season.
SPORTS
January 21, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
Washington State's Klay Thompson is go for launch, any time, anywhere. Give him the ball, and expect a shot, no matter the score, the time, the situation or where he's at on the court. "He's got a complete green light," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said. Thompson shoots 16.3 times per game, tops in the Pacific 10 Conference, but 7.4 of those go in, making him the league's top scorer (22.9). His fire-away game plan seems to be working for the Cougars (13-5 overall, 3-3 in conference play)
SPORTS
January 22, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
The Trojans move onward and upward, then backward and downward. It's their trend this season. They've had five two-game winning streaks, but none longer. Three of those streaks were followed by two-game losing streaks. The problem may well be that USC (11-8, 3-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference) simply doesn't know how to handle success. The numbers indicate so, and USC Coach Kevin O'Neill agrees. "Most teams like us, who in my mind have a low margin for error, don't handle success very well," he said of the Trojans, who face California (9-9, 2-4)
SPORTS
December 30, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
USC's lock-down defense shut down Washington's high-powered offense Wednesday. It held the Huskies to 35.5 points below their season average by the start of overtime ? and didn't give up a fastbreak point. It forced Washington into 17 turnovers ? after the Huskies committed a total of nine in their two previous games ? and kept star guard Isaiah Thomas (10 points, six turnovers) in check. But that all went for naught in an 73-67 loss, forcing USC (8-6, 0-1 in conference play)
SPORTS
February 12, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Every Friday, your average 9-to-5 worker is worn down and ready to punch out, thankful for a Saturday to kick back and chill. USC knows the feeling ? except for that last part. Leading up to Saturdays, the Trojans too seem tuckered out as their seven-man roster looks dead-legged, usually from playing a game two days prior. Which partly explains why more than half of USC's losses this season (seven) have come on Saturdays, with the Trojans' only wins coming in its season opener and after a six-day break between games.
SPORTS
November 15, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
The day had brought the difficult news to USC that forward Alex Stepheson, one of the Trojans' biggest players by size and value, had a fractured left hand. But by night's end, the Trojans' smallest player, 5-foot-7 freshman guard Maurice Jones, was able to deliver some good news, dazzling the Galen Center with a game-high 29 points in USC's 86-73 win against Santa Clara. Jones shot 10 for 20, many on driving layups, some from impossible angles. He also had five assists, a few on no-look passes that made the crowd do double-takes at instant replays shown on the video board.
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