USC Takes On Oregon State Looking to Remain Atop Pac-10

Jan 30, 2002

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - After pressing its way to a key Pac-10 victory on Saturday, SouthernCalifornia hopes to maintain its intensity, and a share of the conference lead,as it visits Oregon State on Thursday.

The 23rd-ranked Trojans (15-4, 7-2), who are currently tied for first placewith surprising Oregon, trailed No. 14 Stanford by seven points at the halfSaturday before USC coach Henry Bibby decided to employ a full-court pressdefense.

The strategy worked to perfection as the Trojans forced 27 turnovers,rallying for a 90-82 victory. Senior forward Sam Clancy led the way, recording24 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.

'We have lots of different defenses we throw at people, and the press wasthe one that worked (on Saturday),' Bibby said. 'The last few games, wewalked the ball up the floor. We wanted to increase the tempo, so we changedit.'

The Trojans are beginning a difficult stretch of five of their next sevengames on the road, including Saturday's potential battle for first place withOregon, followed by visits to ranked conference opponents UCLA, Stanford andArizona.

Despite the daunting road schedule, USC guard Brandon Granville is lookingforward to the challenge of keeping the Trojans on top in the Pac-10.

'I like playing in a hostile environment,' Granville said. 'It gets yougoing and playing at a high level.'

The Beavers (10-9, 3-6) have won consecutive conference games following afive-game Pac-10 losing streak.

On Saturday, Phillip Ricci scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds asOregon State cruised past Washington State 68-53.

Ricci, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, earned Pac-10 player of the week honorsafter averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals as theBeavers completed a two-game sweep of Washington and Washington State.

Ricci is averaging team highs of 16.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Clancy paces the Trojans with 18.5 points and 9.6 boards per contest.

USC has lost five of its last seven visits to Corvallis, Ore., with three ofthose defeats coming in overtime.

However, the Trojans lead the all-time series 54-51.

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