3-Points: USC 66, CSUN 59

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The Trojans win a tense opener in front of a star-studded, raucous Galen Center crowd.

Click here for Kevin O'Neill's post-game press conference.

  • Down 54-50 in the closing minutes, Maurice Jones sparked a 9-0 run and eventually closed the show at the free throw line.  Jones only made 2 of 13 shots, but he converted 12 of 15 free throws.  "He gets kind of in chill mode some times," O'Neill described Jones' slow start.  "He's going to have to jump his game up going forward.  The good thing was he didn't get discouraged and in the last four minutes, [he] made a couple of big time plays."  Jones admitted to the head coach that he was tired, but O'Neill reminded his only point guard that he will have to play through it all season.
  • Dewayne Dedmon's much anticipated debut lived up to the hype.  With Taj Gibson sitting courtside, the next Trojan big man made 7 of 8 shots for 16 points plus 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in only 25 minutes due to foul trouble and a leg cramp.  "I had a blast," said Dedmon, who was thrilled to be playing major college basketball for the first time. "I really like how the crowd was hyped."  Dedmon played to the Galen faithful with a Veterans Day salute after his three blocks. 
  • The sloppy performance was typical of a college basketball opener, especially with an inexperienced team.  USC had 20 turnovers, made zero three-pointers (0/15) and committed 22 fouls.  "Our guys think this a kung fu match," O'Neill said about his team's tendency to chop down on the opponent.  "Tough means doing the right thing all the time.  We're not going to be brilliant basketball wise right now." 
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  • Freshman wing Byron Wesley shined on the defensive end during his first college game.  He pulled down six defensive rebounds and played lock down man-to-man in the final minute.  "He's going to have to be our Marcus Simmons as time goes on," O'Neill praised Wesley's defensive ceiling.
Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller was the focus of USC's zone-busting offense with 16 points and 9 rebounds.

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