USC: Washington State

Schedule of game for this week's Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center:
Game 1 -- Wednesday: No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 9 Oregon State , 6 p.m. TV: FSN
Game 2 -- Wednesday: No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 Arizona State, 8:30 p.m. TV: FSN
Game 3 -- Thursday: No. 4 USC vs. No. 5 California, Noon TV: FSN
Game 4 -- Thursday: No. 1 Arizona vs. Game 1 winner, 2:30 p.m. TV: FSN
Game 5 -- Thursday No. 2 UCLA vs. Game 2 winner , 6 p.m. TV: FSN
Game 6 -- Thursday: No. 3 Washington vs. No. 6 Washington State, 8:30 p.m. TV: FSN
Game 7 -- Friday: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 winner 6, p.m. TV: FSN
Game 8 -- Friday: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 winner , 8:30 p.m. TV: FSN
Final -- Saturday: Pac-10 Tournament Championship, 3 p.m.. TV: CBS
Larry Scott discusses the new divisions as the Pac-10 grows to the Pac-12.video

USC edged by Oregon in Pac-10 media poll

July, 29, 2010
7/29/10
12:18
PM PT
The defending Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks beat USC by a narrow margin in the annual conference media poll released today, ending the Trojans' seven-year streak of earning the top spot every July.

USC earned 12 first-place votes from the 35 West Coast voters participating in the poll this time around, while the Ducks received 15. The margin between the two schools -- just three points (314 to 311) -- equals the second-closest poll ever after the 1989 edition, when the Trojans were picked to beat UCLA by two points.

Oregon State finished third in the voting, 49 points behind USC, and got three first-place votes. Four other Pac-10 squads received at least one first-place vote: Stanford, Arizona, Washington and UCLA.

The conference release notes that the poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 26 of 49 previous years, including nine of the last 10.

The full results, with first-place votes in parentheses:

1. Oregon (15): 314

2. USC (12): 311

3. Oregon State (3): 262

4. Stanford (1): 233

5. Arizona (2): 222

6. Washington (1): 209

7. California: 175

8. UCLA (1): 134

9. Arizona State: 81

10 Washington State: 39

Final: Washington State 51, USC 47

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
4:36
PM PT
This one didn't end well for the Trojans.

USC fell victim to a sluggish performance Saturday afternoon in Pullman, Wash. struggling to a 51-47 loss against Washington State.

Trojan guard Dwight Lewis led all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting, but the senior couldn't hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game at 50. Forward Nikola Vucevic added 12 for USC and reserve forward Leonard Washington pitched in eight points.

For the Cougars, guard Klay Thompson had the worst game of his career, shooting 0-for-12 from the field and scoring just two points. To top it off, Thompson also turned the ball over five times and shot just 2-of-5 from the free-throw line.

But sophomore guard Abe Lodwick was surprisingly effective for Washington State, scoring a team-high 12 points on six shot attempts. Lodwick was scoreless when the two teams played at the Galen Center last month.

Washington State led by four, 23-19, at halftime, before USC quickly tied the score at 23 early in the second half. But the Cougars proceeded to put together a 9-0 run -- the game's longest -- and take a 32-23 lead.

The Trojans closed the gap to just one point, 45-44, with 1:33 to go in the game, but Washington State's Reggie Moore (11 points) hit a big 3-pointer on the next possession. With seven seconds left, Lewis' last shot to tie the game was no good, and the Cougars took home the victory.

The loss pushes the Trojans (16-10, 8-6) back to, at best, a tie for second in the Pac-10. A win, tied with a Cal loss to Oregon today and an Arizona State loss tomorrow, could have put USC alone in first.

Meanwhile, coach Ken Bone's Washington State team earned just its second victory in its last eight tries. The Cougars (16-11, 6-9) still rank near the bottom of the conference.

Next up for USC is a flight home to Los Angeles and preparation for a Thursday night game against Oregon. The Ducks are currently last in the Pac-10, but they managed to beat the Trojans last month in Eugene, Ore.

Notes: Former men's basketball coach Tim Floyd's job is done at the NCAA hearings in Tempe, Ariz., our Ted Miller reports. But USC's appearance before the NCAA's Infractions Committee continues...While Washington State has lost 17 straight times to UCLA at home, the Cougars have beat the Trojans six of the last seven times the teams played in Pullman.

Halftime: Washington State 23, USC 19

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
3:03
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It hasn't exactly been an eventful first half in Pullman, Wash.

After 20 minutes of play, Washington State leads USC 23-19 at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. WSU's Marcus Capersand USC's Dwight Lewis each have seven points to lead their respective teams, but scoring has been at a premium thus far.

The game started off well for the Trojans, as forward Alex Stephesonconverted a layup on the game's first possession. But USC wouldn't score again for nearly five minutes, when a Nikola Vucevic dunk tied the score at 4-4.

USC did manage to pull in front, 19-18, on a Leonard Washington dunk with 90 seconds to play in the half, but a 3-point play from Capers and jumper from DeAngelo Casto gave the Cougars the 23-9 lead at the half.

Interestingly, WSU's Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson — the high-scoring duo we highlighted pregame) have combined to go 0-for-9 on field goal attempts. Moore made two free throws late in the half, but Thompson's been held scoreless.

Only four players have scored for the Trojans. Point guard Mike Gerrity is 0-of-4 from the field as USC has collectively shot just 35 percent.

Preview: USC at Washington State

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
1:31
PM PT
If Thursday's game against Washington was the good kindof rematch for USC, then Saturday afternoon's rematch with Washington State is the vengeful kind.

See, when the Cougars and Trojans played last month, USC succumbed to an improbable second-half comeback from WSU and lost, 67-60. At the time, USC forward Alex Stepheson called it "pretty bad," memorably shaking his head while looking down.

But, as Stepheson will tell you, the tables have turned.

Since that game, the Trojans (16-9, 8-5) have won five of seven games — including their last four. The Cougars (15-11, 5-9) have lost six of seven.

But that doesn't make USC coach Kevin O'Neill any less worried about today's 2 p.m. contest at the Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars still have Klay Thompson. They still have Reggie Moore.

And combined, that duo's good for an average of 34.3 points per game — enough to keep any coach worried.

In January, the WSU duo had 41 of their team's 67 points. At the time, O'Neill called Moore the best point guard in the Pac-10.

Both Moore and Thompson struggled in the Cougars' 20-point loss to UCLA on Thursday, together recording just 19 points, but WSU did get 10 points from forward DeAngelo Casto.

And Casto may well be the key to this game. Averaging 14 points in his last four games, the 6-foot-8, 229-pound forward is the closest thing to an inside threat the Cougars offer.

While Cougars coach Ken Bone frequently runs a 4-guard offense, he can only do so if Casto manages to limit USC's Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic down low — and score some himself.

We'll see. No television today, but we'll have halftime and postgame updates.

Notes: We profiled USC baseball in this space yesterday, and the Trojans' first game against Cal Poly was an overwhelming success, as starter Andrew Triggs went seven strong innings and designated hitter Matt Foatwent 4-for-5 with 4 RBI. USC won 9-4 and will be back facing the Mustangs again tonight at 6 p.m...Meanwhile, USC's appearance before the NCAA Infractions Committee in Tempe, Ariz. is set to conclude today. The Los Angeles Times reports that the focus of today's proceedings are centered around the basketball program. Former USC head coach Tim Floyd, who resigned last year, is in attendance alongside one of his attorneys.

Preview: Washington State at USC

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
6:44
PM PT
In practice this week, USC coach Kevin O'Neill tried his best to give his team an idea of what to expect from Washington State tonight.

And what is that?

A lot of driving, a lot of kicking out, and a lot of shooting. Basically, the Cougars can score — a lot.

"They have a very talented team," O'Neill said after practice Wednesday.

Washington State (13-5, 3-3) has put up 87 or more points on seven occasions this season, but the Cougars have also done a lot of full-court pressing, using an athletic team to attempt to force teams into turnovers.

But O'Neill says his team is well equipped to beat that press. Against Tennessee last month, point guard Mike Gerrity ran all over the Volunteers and had 12 points and 10 assists in an upset victory.

"I hope they do press us," O'Neill said of Washington State. "I hope everybody presses us, because it helps us generate points. It works for us because Mike's so good against pressure and it keeps us from having to line up against set defenses all the time.

"Hopefully we get some easy baskets if they do pressure."

The Cougars' top two scorers are freshman point guard Reggie Moore and sophomore guard Klay Thompson. Together, they put up more than 35 points and seven assists per game. Thompson, a sophomore from Ladera Ranch, is leading the Pac-10 in scoring with 22.9 points per game.

"He's a big-time scorer," O'Neill said. "He can score inside. He can score outside. He gets to the foul line eight or nine times a game, makes other people better."

O'Neill said he anticipates assigning "lots of different guys" to guard Thompson, but he said senior guard Dwight Lewis will start on him Thursday.

USC forward/center Nikola Vucevic said Wednesday that he and forward Alex Stepheson have been preparing to provide help defense on Thompson this week in practice.

The lanky, 6-foot-6, 187-pounder has been to known to search for a mid- to-close range shot. USC's plan is to let him shoot, but not in the lane.

"If he drives, we just need to be there to help," Vucevic said. "If he jumps, we can't jump with him. We have to stay on the floor with our hands up, ready to take the charge if he goes at us.

"It's hard to score with us there."

Note: The late Rory Markas will be remembered just before tip-off, a USC spokesman said. Markas, the team's radio announcer for 10 seasons, died earlier this month.

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