LAS VEGAS (AP) -- All season, USC's strength has been its
defense. But in the third round game of the Las Vegas Classic
Friday, the Kansas State Wildcats found holes in the second half.
After trailing by seven early in the second, the Wildcats used a
17-point run to defeat USC 68-55.
"In the first half, we shot 22 percent and in the second half,
we shot 62 percent. We made it hard on ourselves," Kansas State
coach Bob Huggins said.
"Our half court offense was awful in the first half. Second
half, we changed," he said.
After USC built its largest lead of the game 30-23 one minute
into the second half, the Wildcats went on a 20-3 run and had a
43-33 advantage with 11:16 left in the game. The Trojans did not
get closer than 47-40 with 9:45 left.
"We are a team that is playing hard on defense, but we don't
value the offense," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "We didn't respond
to their pressure. They manhandled us. They were more physical and
we turned the ball over."
Both teams struggled from the field. The Wildcats were 18-of-49
for 37 percent, while the Trojans were 17-of-40 (43 percent).
Kansas State will play in the championship game Saturday against
the winner of the tournament's fourth game of the day with No. 8
Wichita State-New Mexico.
USC (9-3) plays the loser of that contest in the third-place
game. Both teams were 2-0 going into the eight-team, four-game
tournament at the Orleans Arena.