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December 2009 Archives

USC Beats Arizona in Conference Opener

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The USC Trojans defeated the University of Arizona 56-50, in their Pac-10 opener tonight at the Galen Center. This win stretches the Trojan winning streak to seven, giving USC their ninth win of the year.

Marcus Johnson and Dwight Lewis led the Trojans in scoring, each with 14 points. This game was won on the defensive end for USC, as the Trojans held the Wildcats to just 37 percent shooting from the field in the first half. USC led by as much as 17 in the first twenty minutes of play. Tonight's game was the seventh game in a row, in which the Trojans held their opponent to under 56 points scoring. Click here for the full AP release.

This win gives Head Coach Kevin O'Neill his second win this season against one of his former teams. O' Neill coached both Tennessee and Arizona, before finding his way to USC. The Trojans will host Arizona St. Saturday at 7:30.

Check below for an insider look from the USC bench during tonight's contest.

USC vs. Arizona Preview

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The Trojans enter tonight's contest riding a six-game winning streak. USC has been led by senior point-guard Mike Gerrity. The Yorba Linda native has been averaging more than 15 points per game since joining the team on December 19th. Gerrity missed the first eight games of the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

The Trojans have also since welcomed back Leonard Washington to the line-up. Washington was ineligible for the first semester, but he has made an immediate impact for USC, helping to lead them to the inaugural Diamond Head Classic Championship in Honolulu, Hawaii over the Christmas Holiday.Washington brings a tenacious tenacity to go along with with a 6-7, 230 pound frame that is an instant mismatch.

The Wildcats are 6-6 on the season and enter tonight's Pac-10 opener coming off of a 30 point loss to BYU, 66-99, on December 28th. Senior guard Nic Wise leads Arizona averaging more than 16 points per game to go along with an average of four assists. The Wildcats also feature three freshmen on their roster that originally committed to USC, but at the last minute backed out and signed with Arizona: Solomon Hill, Derrick Williams and Lamont "MoMo" Jones. The freshmen trio combine for more than 25 points per game in just their first year in Tuscon.

Adding to tonight's festivities is the relationship USC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill has with the Arizona program. O'Neill took over for Lute Olsen in 2008 and led the Wildcats to an NCAA tournament birth. O'Neill is 1-1 against his former schools, after blowing out Tennessee 77-55 at the Galen Center on December 19th.

Stay tuned for tip off at 4:00 PM PST. The game will air on FSN West and FS Arizona, with former Trojan point-guard Brandon Granville calling the game. Be sure to check in after the game for a full recap and insider photos.

Mike Gerrity is named Pac-10 Player of the Week


Senior Mike Gerrity was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after being named tournament MVP while leading the Trojans to the Diamond Head Classic title. Click here to read the full AP release.

Take a look below to see a slide show of the Trojans' time in Hawaii at the Diamond Head Classic.

Mike Gerrity Named the Tournament MVP

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Mike Gerrity was named the Most Valuable Player of the Diamond Head Classic after leading the USC Trojans to the tournament title over the Christmas holiday.

The senior guard posted 17 points in each of the first two contests, against Western Michigan and St. Mary's, followed by a star-studded floor performance in the finals, in which the Trojans defeated No. 20 UNLV, 67-56.

The Trojans would not have made it to the finals if it were not for Gerrity's performance in the first round against Western Michigan. After starting the game completely flat, and finding themselves down nine at halftime, the Trojans leaned on Gerrity in the second half. The former Mater Dei star responded, scoring 15 of his 17 points and leading the Trojans on a late second half run to steal the game away from the Broncos, 55-51.

Much was the same in the game against St. Mary's. Gerrity was the driving force behind the Trojan offense, even playing quarterback at times, throwing length of the court passes to beat St. Mary's press. Gerrity shot 70 percent from the field, including a huge 3-pointer late in the game that all but sealed the Trojan victory.

Gerrity entered the tournament coming off of his first game of the season. A game in which USC upset the then ninth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, 77-55, at the Galen Center. Playing in his first college game in over 28 months, the playmaking point-guard scored 12 points and dished out 10 assists.

At the beginning of the season, Gerrity said that he had a lot to prove and now he is reminding all of us why he was the Cal-Hi Sports CIF State Division II Player of the Year and CIF Southern Section Player of the Year coming out of high school. As a Trojan, Gerrity is leading USC in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game, while pulling down almost four rebounds per contest in four games. The Trojans have not lost since Gerrity became eligible, and are currently riding a six game winning streak heading into Pac-10 play. USC will host Arizona in their first conference game of the season on New Year's Eve.

USC Wins Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii


USC defeated No. 20 UNLV,67-56, to win the inaugural Diamond Head Classic on Christmas day in Honolulu, Hawaii. Click here for an AP game recap and Box Score of the game.

The Trojans pushed the lead to as great as 19 in the second half. Senior forward, Marcus Johnson led the USC offensive attack, scoring 19 points on 8-14 shooting from the field.

Defensively, the Trojans have buckled down and are playing with the hard-nosed style of play Head Coach Kevin O'Neill is know for. USC held the Running Rebels to just 25 first-half points and were able to capitalize on UNLV's mistakes to score 18 points off of turnovers.

Turnovers had been USC's biggest problem, averaging as much as 17 per game this season, but with the addition of Mike Gerrity, the Trojans are simply a new team and pose an immanent threat for a potential run at a back-to-back Pac-10 Championship.

The Trojans also welcomed Leonard Washington to the line-up for the first time this season against St. Mary's. Washington was ineligible for the first ten games of the season, stemming from academic issues. The sophomore forward has added tremendous depth to the Trojans, and has proved to be a very tough cover, standing 6-foot-7, and weighing 230 lbs. The Louisiana native, brings versatility and size, giving USC possibly the best front-court in the Pac-10.

The Trojans will play their first conference game New Year's Eve against Arizona. Tip off is at 4:00 PM PST.

USC Defeats St. Mary's to Advance to Title Game

The USC Trojans defeated St. Mary's University, 60-49, on Wednesday night to advance to the title game of the inaugural Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mike Gerrity again led the Trojans with 17 points. Gerrity has ignited the Trojans, and USC has not lost a game in which he has played. USC also welcomed Leonard Washington to the line-up, who competed in 21 minutes of play, scoring 10 points, grabbing six rebounds and also with two assists and two blocks. Washington was ineligible for the first ten games of the season due to academic issues.

The Trojans led by double figures most of the way, but had to fend off a late push by St. Mary's to seal the victory and advance to the title game against UNLV. The Running Rebels has won five consecutive games and have reached the finals by defeating Hawaii, 77-53 on Dec. 23. They are led in scoring by junior guard Tre'Von Willis (15.4 ppg) and sophomore guard Oscar Bellfield (10.7 ppg).

Tomorrow's game will air at 7 PM PST on ESPN2.

Three-Game Win Streak Leads USC Into Holiday Tournament

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The USC Trojans (5-4) will face the Western Michigan Broncos (4-4) today at 2 PM PST in the inaugural Diamond Head Classic being held at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hi.

USC is coming off of a stellar victory against the then, ninth-ranked, Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. Saturday's win made it three in a row for the Trojans, after defeating both Sacramento State and Idaho State last week at the Galen Center. The Trojans were spurred on by the return of point guard Mike Gerrity who had a double-double with 12 points and a career-high 10 assists, to give the Trojans a 77-55 victory against the Volunteers. Alex Stepheson (19 points/15 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (15 points/10 rebounds) also posted double-doubles in that contest, while Dwight Lewis led the USC scoring attack with 21 points.

Western Michigan enters today's contest coming off a 72-64 home win vs. Kennesaw State on Dec. 19. The Broncos returned three starters from a team that went 10-21 a year ago. WMU is led in scoring by senior guard David Kool (21.5 ppg), sophomore forward Flenard Whitfield (12.3 ppg) and senior guard/forward Martelle McLemore (12.0 ppg). USC leads the all-time series with WMU 2-1, winning the last meeting 77-62 on Dec. 16, 2005.

The winner of today's contest will play the winner of Northeastern / St. Mary's tomorrow at 3 PM PST. Today's game will air live on ESPNU.

"The Melt" - USC vs. Tennessee

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The Melt showcases the best highlights from the game, including the best dunks, blocks, steals, but also gives an all-access tour from inside the Trojan looker room from before the game through the post-game press conference.

Click here to check out "The Melt" for USC's big win over #9 Tennessee.

USC Upsets No. 9 Tennessee By 22 Points at the Galen Center

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USC knocked off the University of Tennessee 77-55, at the Galen Center this afternoon, giving the Trojans their third win in a row and their first win over a top ten team this season.

Dwight Lewis led the offensive attack for the Trojans with 21 points, but it was USC's defense and the addition of guard Mike Gerrity that proved to be the difference maker in today's contest. Gerrity finished with 12 points and 10 assists in his Trojan debut. More importantly, Gerrity gives the Trojans a true point-guard and another experienced leader on the floor that can distribute the ball and handle defensive pressure.

Defensively, the Trojans held the Volunteers to just 55 points on 20-58 shooting from the field. Tennessee had been averaging more than 84 points per game entering into today's contest. USC held both Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism to a combined total of 11 points. The scoring duo had been been responsible for close to 24 points per game for the Volunteers thus far this season.

With this win the Trojans improve to 5-4 on the season and will travel to the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tip off for their first game with be at 2:00 PM HAST on Tuesday against the University of Western Michigan.

Check below for a full behind-the-scenes picture slideshow of today's victory.

Click here for an AP game recap and Box Score of today's game.

Tip Off Just Minutes Away!

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USC hosts No. 9 Tennessee here at the Galen Center. Follow the game live on FSN West and USCTrojans.com. Stay tuned after the game for a full report of today's contest.

USC to Host No. 9 Tennessee at the Galen Center Tomorrow

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USC (4-4) will host No. 9 Tennessee (8-1) tomorrow at 1:30 at the Galen Center. Both teams completed light workouts today in preparation for tomorrow's contest.

The Trojans will welcome Mike Gerrity to the line-up for the first time in a cardinal and gold uniform. The Mater Dei alumnus, came to USC after the 2008 Fall semester. Gerrity played one season for UNC-Charlotte (2007-08), averaging 4.7 points and 3.5 assists in 26 games, after spending his freshmen season at Pepperdine University. Gerrity will bring much needed ball handling skills to a Trojan back-court that has averaged 17 turnovers per game thus far this season.


This game will also pit former Harvard-Westlake high school teammates against each other in USC's Alex Stepheson and Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge. Stepheson is in his first season with the Trojans and is averaging 12.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg. Woolridge, who is in his second season in White and Orange, is averaging 3.4ppg and 2.0 rpg. Woolridge was rated the No.8 overall prospect in the state of California coming out of high school. He is also the son of the former NBA great, Orlando Woolridge.

Tip off is tomorrow at 1:30pm. Stay tuned for more fun facts and live updates throughout tomorrow's game from the Trojans bench.

Call him "Pop Tart"



When asked by a particular team manager why, Michael Cooper replies, "Call me Pop Tart because I 'pop up' on you when you least expect it."

This mundane event reveals the character of the man who is the head of the USC women's basketball program. Not only does he 'pop up' on his players unexpectedly, you have to wonder what thoughts are running through this man's head while he watches you for those brief minutes that you are unaware of his regard. This is what makes Michael Cooper such a dynamic and interesting coach, because you can believe that he sees something in you, that as a player, makes you think he can make you better. He sees your strengths and weaknesses, but he also sees your limits and tries to coach you beyond them.

During practices, Coach Cooper's comments reveal the depth of his analysis on each of his players and of the opposing team. These are not surface revelations, but deeply ingrained knowledge of the game that has been developed over decades of playing with the Los Angles Lakers and as the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. And all of this knowledge is at the disposal of the Women of Troy.

However, the most intriguing thing about Michael Cooper is the fact that his humor, revealed by his request to be called "Pop Tart", is indicative of the man who analyzes everything. He has fun catching people off-guard, and he has fun trying to understand his players. This is a man who is at equal times thoughtful, introverted and analytical, while being completely extroverted, funny, and joyful with his coaches, players, office staff, random people in airports, and his team managers.

At the first practice, Michael Cooper put his players at ease by ending practice by introducing the dance ritual that has since, ended practices on a happy and joyful note. And as a particular team manager was typing up this entry, Coach Cooper unexpectedly 'popped' up once again to comment on this manager's dedication to homework. Little did he know that he would be the subject of this particular blog, and like the man that he is, a laugh and chuckle followed his wake. Just as he had planned.

WBB Report - Scooter Incident


In an effort to better communicate with the community about public issues, we are pleased to provide the following Incident Resolution Notice.

Incident: Scooter crash in the USC Women's Basketball team locker room.
Date: 12/ 11/ 2009 at approximately 1:37 pm.
Location: Galen Center, Women's Basketball Team Locker Room

Description: Vicky Tagalicod was seen crashing her electric scooter into the wall of the team locker room, when attempting to maneuver the scooter- issued by the athletic training staff for Tagalicod following knee surgery - into a corner of the locker room. The incident was witnessed by an unidentified team manager, who had entered the locker room prior to the start of the day's practice to prepare the Gatorade and water for the team. When asked if she had indeed crashed into the wall, Tagalicod laughed and said that she had. There was no damage to the wall or the scooter, unlike the blow to Tagalicod's ego at crashing into the wall on a scooter. Soon after the crash, Tagalicod silently moved to the couch to watch the remainder of "I Want To Work For Diddy 2" on the television in the locker room.

Disposition: Tagalicod has, since the incident, driven her scooter with more care, after the embarrassing incident occurred. Neither has Tagalicod lived down the incident, as news of the crash leaked to the public from an unknown source.


USC Continues Preparation for Tennessee on Saturday

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The Trojans were back on the practice court today in preparation for Saturday's game against ninth-ranked Tennessee at the the Galen Center. The Trojans are coming off of a 59-53 win over Idaho State, while Tennessee defeated Middle Tennessee State by 21 points in their last contest,75-54. Tennessee has only one loss on the season, that coming at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers on November 23rd, defeating the Volunteers, 73-72. The Trojans know that they will have their hands full and are eagerly awaiting the challenge.

Dwight Lewis in particular, is one player that is anxiously awaiting the challenge. Head Coach Kevin O'Neill believes Lewis has strung together his best two games of the season in for two contests. Click here for a deeper look into Dwight Lewis' tenure here at USC. Continue to follow the Trojan Fever Basketball Fan Blog for updated stories on all of the Trojan players and coaches.

Check below for an inside look at today's practice.

The Trojans will have tomorrow off before two more hard days of practice leading up to Saturday's much anticipated match-up against the University of Tennessee. Tip off is Saturday at 1:30 PM PST.

USC Escapes with a 59-53 Victory Over Idaho St.

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The low-post presence of USC proved to be too much for Idaho St., as the Trojan big man combo of Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic combined for 21 points, 24 rebounds and 9 blocked shots. USC set a team-record on the night with 13 blocks. Combined with Dwight Lewis pouring in 19 points from the outside, USC was able to hold off a late second-half run by Idaho State, and come away with the 59-53 victory.

This win gives the Trojans their first back-to-back wins on the season. USC will host No. 3 Tennessee next Saturday, Dec 19th, at the Galen Center.

Be sure to check out our behind-the-scenes photo log of tonight's action below.

You can also read the full-game recap and watch USC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill's post-game press conference.

Trojans Push Lead Back to Ten with Two Minutes Remaining

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After giving up the lead, 38-36, with 12:36 remaining the Trojans have stretched their lead back to double digits 55-45, with two minutes remaining.  Defensive pressure has allowed the Trojans to force turnovers, and in turn fast break points.

Marcus Johnson just fouled out of the game with 2:01 remaining . He finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks, and two assists. Donte Smith replaces Johnson on the floor down the stretch for the USC.

"Quickie" Statistics at the Half

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The Trojans got off to their best start of the season and found themselves up 25-6 approaching the 10:00 minute mark of the first half. However, turnovers plagued USC in the latter stages of the first twenty minutes of play. Idaho State surged back with 11 points off USC turnovers to close the first half down, 31-21.

Dwight Lewis is leading USC in the scoring column with 11 points, followed by Marcus Johnson and Alex Stepheson each with 8.

Junior guard, Broderick Gilchrist is leading the Bengals with 6 points.

Dwight Lewis gives USC the Early Lead

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Senior forward Dwight Lewis, scores the game's first six points in the first minute of play to give the Trojans an early six point lead. USC started 4-4 from the field and find themselves up 12-5 with 16:20 remaining in the first half. The Trojans are looking for their first back-to-back wins on the season.

USC Hosts Idaho St. at the Galen Center

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Tip-off is thirty minutes away. Stay tuned for live, in-game updates from the Trojan bench.

The Playmakers: Alex Stepheson

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Red-Shirt junior Alex Stepheson is beginning to make his presence known at USC. In five games he is averaging almost 12 points and 9 rebounds a game. His 7 blocks against Sacramento State helped USC tie a team record 12 for one game.

In this week's episode of "The Playmakers," learn more about Stepheson's path from being a North Carolina Tar Heel to becoming a Trojan.

Click Here to watch the video for free for a limited time.

"The Playmakers" is a USCTrojans.com original series that highlights star athletes and coaches that are making a difference for their Trojan teams. The episodes go beyond stats and X's and O's, and give viewers an in depth look at some of USC's best athletes.

All-Access members can check out previous episodes on Marcus Simmons and Dwight Lewis.

Check back all season long for more episodes of "The Playmakers,".

As the cold season approaches, recalling the warm, humid nights spent in the Virgin Islands is the best cure for the frigid nights of Southern California. Better than a cup of the richest hot chocolate, the trip to the Virgin Islands had revived the USC women's basketball team from its lethargy. As senior forward Aarika Hughes stated, the team was going to the Virgin Islands "to have fun... then handle business."

The fun started with a session of snorkeling in the warm Atlantic waters off the shore of an uninhabited island. The snorkeling session started rough as seasickness spread, but as soon as the players hit the water, by way of a waterslide off the side of the snorkeling yacht, any thoughts of sickness were washed away. Snorkeling brought back the fun to the team, as they swam, saw sea turtles swim alongside the yacht, and were awed at the sight of a sunken pirate ship meters below their finned feet.

The next day, the team prepared to handle business. After shoot-around at a local Virgin Islands school, the pregame meal was quiet and subdued, a stark contrast from the animated and giddy atmosphere of the team's snorkeling excursion. In the first game of the tournament, the Women of Troy would be facing a talented Rutgers University team. Led by sophomore forward Chelsey Lee, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated the Women of Troy in a physical and a tightly contested game.

The new mood -- perhaps attributed to the braids that Jacki Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath had styled to their hair the morning of the Texas game -- carried on as the Women of Troy upset the No. 19 Mississippi State. The Women of Troy hit the floor with their routine pregame cheer, led by senior Hailey Dunham, as if they owned it. The time spent during individual practices, the time spent running laps for missed layups, and the time spent learning new plays had been worth it, seeing the Women of Troy perform one of their best basketball games of the season. And, at the last seconds of the game, the Women of Troy won on the most basic skill that the coaches had stressed all season: knock down your free throws.

The ending to the night was capped not when the Women of Troy received their second place award at the 2009 Paradise Jam, but when they celebrated the birthday of Marissa Main, the team's manager. And, they didn't even need Marissa's birthday candle to grant them the win.

As the team returned to Los Angeles, and to the coming winter, the Women of Troy knew there will always be more challenges to come. The coming Pac-10 conference games will test the newfound confidence they gained in the Virgin Islands. As they left the warm weather of the Caribbean, the Women of Troy look forward to facing conference play and are ready to handle business, seal the deal, and emerge triumphant.

"The Melt" - USC vs. Sacramento St.

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Trojan Basketball Fans, do you want a peek at all of the behind-the-scenes action that occurs during the USC games? Do you want to know what Head Coach Kevin O'Neill tells the players before the game and at halftime? Then you need to watch The Melt.

The Melt showcases the best highlights from the game, including the best dunks, blocks, steals, but also gives an all-access tour from inside the Trojan looker room from before the game through the post-game press conference. Watch it now free for a limited time

Photos & Videos from Win over Sacramento St.

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USC Defeats Sacramento State 51-36 at the Galen Center

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The Trojans rebound with a victory after dropping their last three contests with tonight's win over Sacramento State, 51-36.

Both Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic  finished with double-doubles. Stepheson scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 7 blocks, while Vucevic poured in 15 points with 14 rebounds. USC tied the school record for most blocked shots in a  game with 12.

USC will host Idaho State Friday at the Galen Center. Tip off is at 7:30 PM PST.

Click here for a full recap and box score of tonight's contest.

Check out our behind-the-scenes slideshow of tonight's game below.

WATCH USC v Sac St. Full Game (2:15:00)

WATCH USC v Sac St. O'Neill Post Game Press Conf (6:00)

Nikola Vucevic has led the Trojans in the second half with 8 points and 6 rebounds. The sophomore forward has 14 points thus far in the game to match14 rebounds, 10 of those coming on the defensive end.

The Trojans lead 45-28 with under 9:00 remaining.

Trojans lead 24-16 at the Half

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The Trojans hold Sacramento State to just 19% shooting (6-32) in the first half and lead by 8 points at the break.  USC was leading 18-6 just under the ten minute mark, before rattling off seven consecutive turnovers on the offensive end. Sacramento State has clawed back behind the point-guard play of senior guard, Sultan Toles-Bay. Bay leads the Hornets with 4 points and 1 assist in the first twenty minutes of play.

Alex Stepheson and Dwight Lewis are leading the way for the Trojans each with 8 points.

Stay tuned for second half action.

Trojans Off to a Good Start

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Trojans start 3-3 from the field and take an early 6-0 lead with  18 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Trojans return to the Galen Center to Host Sacramento State

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The USC Trojans (2-4) will host the Sacramento State Hornets (4-5) tonight at  the Galen Center. The game will be broadcast live on USCTrojans.com. It will also air live on ESPN Radio 710 AM. Tip off is at 7:30 PM PST.

USC is coming off a 79-53 loss at Georgia Tech on Saturday and is looking to rebound tonight against Sacramento State. Alex Stepheson led the way for the Trojans last game, recording a career-high 22 points against the Yellow Jackets.

Sacramento State is also coming off a loss, losing to Weber St., 80-65, at home on Dec. 5. However, the Hornets knocked off the Trojans Pac-10 foe,Oregon State, 65-63, in Corvallis on November 21st and should put up a good fight against USC tonight.

Sacramento State is led in scoring by Sultan Toles-Bey (12.4) and John Dickson (10.8). USC leads the all-time series 4-0, winning the last meeting 79-40 on Nov. 16, 1997.

Stay tuned during tonight's contest for live, in-game updates from the Trojan bench. Again, tip off is at 7:30 PM PST.

USC takes on No. 3 Texas

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Follow the action live on ESPN 2 and ESPN360.com,