USC, BYU-Hawai'i Preview

Dec. 21, 2000

LAIE, Hawaii (AP) - Southern California forward David Bluthenthal looks to keep up his recent low-postdominance when the 13th-ranked Trojans face BYU-Hawaii in the Yahoo! SportsInvitational at the Cannon Activities Center on Thursday.

Bluthenthal, a 6-foot-7 junior, has been USC's hottest player,producing four straight double-doubles. The forward enters the game leading theTrojans (7-0) in scoring at 18.4 points per game and in rebounding at 9.1 pergame.

With Bluthenthal carrying the offense, the Trojans are off to their beststart since 1975, when they opened with eight straight victories. Southern Californiahas a nine-game winning streak overall, dating to last season.

Though their record is perfect, the Trojans' games have not lacked dramathis year. USC's 76-73 win over Pepperdine last Thursday was theirfourth straight close game. The Trojans' wins over UC Santa Barbara, Cal StateNorthridge and Utah came by a combined 16 points.

'We don't ever expect games to be close, but that's just how it's workedout. Fortunately, we've been winning,' said Bluthenthal, who had 19 points and10 rebounds in last Thursday's win.

The Trojans have also enjoyed a strong season from senior Brian Scalabrine,whose 22 points against Pepperdine gave him 20 career 20-point games.Scalabrine, a 6-9 forward, is averaging 14.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

BYU-Hawaii, meanwhile, is also off to a fast start with wins in its firstfour games. The Seasiders, the tournament's host team, are coming off an 84-64win against Seattle on Saturday.

The key to BYU-Hawaii's success is a balanced offense, led by senior KerryHendrickson's 20.3 points per game. The Seasiders are also getting 13.3 pointsper game from junior Brian Skinner, while sophomore center Scott Salisbury isthe team's top rebounder, pulling down 10.0 per game.

The Seasiders, who play in Division II, have never faced the Trojans before.

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