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Nikola Vucevic

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)
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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
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.
SPORTS
October 13, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
Their captain was out for the season before it ever began. Now, without senior guard Jio Fontan, USC is a "rudderless ship," according to Coach Kevin O'Neill. So aimlessly the Trojans will head into the basketball season, which begins Nov. 11 against Cal State Northridge, short on experience and talent, with only a dream of a return visit to the NCAA tournament. "We're going to have an interesting year, to say the least," O'Neill said. Times staff writer Baxter Holmes looks at USC's five most pressing issues as it begins practice Friday: Looking for a leader After losing three key seniors, and junior forward Nikola Vucevic to the NBA, the Trojans had two starters returning this season before Fontan, their floor leader and leading returning scorer (10.5 points)
SPORTS
December 18, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
For a four-game stretch from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30, USC shot the lights out, making more than half its attempts each game. But for the last three games, all losses in which USC has shot 36% or lower, the Trojans are shooting as if those lights are still out. What happened before that's not happening now? "We were finishing better in the paint," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said Sunday, a day before his Trojans (4-7) were to play host to Texas Christian (7-3) at the Galen Center.
SPORTS
November 6, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
The USC men's basketball team showcased its new up-tempo offense for fans for the first time Saturday in an exhibition game against Point Loma Nazarene at the Galen Center. And it worked ?for the first half, anyway, when the Trojans led by 27 points against a team that has one player taller than 6 feet 6. "And in the second half, we kind of bogged ourselves down and we didn't do a great job of running our lanes, [and] our bigs ran when they felt like it. " USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said after his team's 69-49 win. O'Neill wants a get-out-and-run offense largely because he has a point guard ?
SPORTS
November 24, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
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.
SPORTS
November 18, 2009 | Pete Thomas
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.
SPORTS
October 13, 2010 | By Baxter Holmes
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.
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.
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