November 24, 2010 |
Maybe USC's pregame meal consisted of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and turkey with all the fixings. Or maybe as a gag someone just laced the Trojans' water bottles with tryptophan, the amino acid in turkeys rumored to cause post-Thanksgiving meal drowsiness. Choose your excuse for USC's slow start in its 81-54 win against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday at the Galen Center. But to explain its strong finish, look no further, or higher, than 5-foot-7 freshman guard Maurice Jones.
November 18, 2009 |
As Dwight Lewis goes, so will the young and otherwise inexperienced Trojans go. This public assessment was delivered recently by Kevin O'Neill, the new USC men's basketball coach, and on Tuesday night the senior guard scored a game-high 22 points and had five rebounds. And the Trojans, who aren't supposed to be very good this season, opened the O'Neill era with a wire-to-wire 77-67 victory over UC Riverside in front of an announced crowd of 3,062 at the Galen Center. But it's not that simple.
October 13, 2010 |
In a city and region known for clear blue skies, the USC men's basketball program had a dark cloud hanging low over its 2009-10 season. First came self-imposed sanctions in January that banned the Trojans from postseason play for allegations of scandal surrounding former star O.J. Mayo . Then came the wait for the NCAA's final decision after a four-year investigation, which arrived in June. But now that the ban has lifted and the NCAA decided not to further penalize the Trojans basketball team, Coach Kevin O'Neill can breathe easier entering this season, which starts Nov. 13. "I'm glad we self-imposed," O'Neill said Wednesday at a coaches luncheon at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
February 3, 2011 |
Eight days stand between USC and its next game, between its 64-50 loss to UCLA on Wednesday and a home rematch with Oregon State on Feb. 10. The break provides the Trojans, who feature just a seven-man rotation, a chance for much-needed rest. They won't practice too much, and, if they do, it will probably be light at best. But while the time off could be considered a positive ? and the Trojans (12-11, 4-6 in Pacific 10 Conference play) are surely glad for it ? it also means their poor showing against UCLA will loom longer in their heads than they would like.
January 29, 2011 |
Reporting from Tucson Rotten irony, cruel fate or bad karma, USC can't be sure. But two of its former recruits, two players whose signature on 2009 letters of intent officially made them Trojans, ended up at Arizona and beat them Saturday. Derrick Williams and Lamont Jones each made all six of his shots against the team they nearly joined, and led Arizona to an 82-73 victory at the McKale Center. Williams, a superstar sophomore forward from La Mirada High who has become a national player-of-the-year candidate, scored a game-high 20 points, including 17 in the second half.
February 10, 2011 |
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.
December 30, 2010 |
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)
November 27, 2010 |
For the first 20 minutes of its nonconference basketball game against Nebraska on Saturday, USC played nearly fundamentally perfect. The next 20 minutes? Not so much. After building a 20-point lead, the Trojans squandered all of it and more in a 60-58 loss. Nebraska hadn't come back to win from as big of a deficit since its 87-77 overtime win against Kansas State in 1997. It was finalized when USC freshman guard Maurice Jones missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.
January 21, 2010 |
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)
January 10, 2011 |
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.