Trojans March Past Ducks And Into Finals, 89-78

March 8, 2002

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - Jerry Dupree got into the starting lineup and showed thathe belongs.

Dupree scored 12 points - one of six Southern California players in doublefigures - and the 22nd-ranked Trojans defeated No. 9 Oregon 89-78 in thesemifinals of the Pacific-10 Conference tournament Friday night.

In his first season at USC, Dupree has had a hard time getting playing time.But he scored 10 points against Stanford on Thursday, persuading coach HenryBibby to start him Friday night.

'It's been a rough year, I wasn't doing the things I was supposed to do,'said Dupree, who spent a year at a junior college to improve his grades.

'Coach Bibby wanted me to play a certain way. I had a reality check tounderstand.'

Dupree also had three assists, two blocked shots and two steals in 31minutes. Bibby decided 1{ hours before tipoff to start the sophomore.

'He's really stepped up his game,' said Brandon Granville, who had 17points and nine assists.

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for top-seeded Oregon (23-8), thePac-10 regular-season champion for the first time in 57 years.

'It did a lot of good to get us ready for next week,' Oregon coach ErnieKent said.

The Trojans (22-8) advanced to Saturday's title game against the winner ofFriday's late game between second-seeded Arizona and No. 3 seed California. ThePac-10 tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament,although six conference teams could be invited for the first time.

'SC is a great team. They've got a chance to go deep in the NCAAtournament, and so do we,' Kent said.

USC's full-court pressure forced the Ducks into 21 turnovers, including nineby Luke Ridnour. The Trojans put the game away by outscoring Oregon 26-10 overthe final 11{ minutes.

'In the second half we slowed ourselves down too much,' Kent said. 'Wedidn't attack their press enough. I thought they had the momentum the entiresecond half. We weren't getting the stops.'

Reserve Desmon Farmer added 17 points for the Trojans, Sam Clancy had 16,Errick Craven 16 and David Bluthenthal 13.

Frederick Jones led Oregon with 20 points. Ridnour added 18, and LukeJackson 16.

Fourth-seeded USC finished in a four-way tie for second place during theregular season, losing close games to Oregon by four points and by two points aweek ago in Los Angeles.

Clancy, the Pac-10 player of the year, said Thursday after USC routedStanford 103-78 that the Ducks had stolen two from the Trojans and they werecoming to get one back.

'We felt that Oregon took the championship away from us,' Dupree said.

In the second half, the Trojans trailed by seven points with 12:54remaining.

Minutes later, USC took the lead for good with a 20-3 run while the Duckswent 5{ minutes without scoring.

Clancy, Dupree and Craven each had six points, including several baskets offOregon's miscues.

Jones got his fourth foul and watched as Ridnour missed 3-point attempts hewas making earlier in the game. The Ducks hit 12 3-pointers in all.

'We let the game get away from us,' Ridnour said. 'When you turn the ballover against that press, they just capitalize on it.'

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