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.
January 15, 2011 |
It rained when USC stepped off its plane in Portland on Wednesday night. It poured almost straight through its in-state stay that ends Sunday morning. It drizzled when the Trojans exited Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena with a loss Thursday night after a failed comeback. It fell in gobs Saturday when they entered Gill Coliseum, which they'd also leave with a loss, 80-76 to Oregon State, again following a failed USC comeback. There's just something about Oregon. It keeps raining on the Trojans' Pacific 10 Conference title hopes.
November 15, 2010 |
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.