Men's Basketball Takes On UAB In Second Round Of Rainbow Classic
Dec. 22, 2004
Honolulu, Hawaii -
The USC men's basketball team--now 5-3 and under the direction of interim head coach Jim Saia---looks to win four games in a row for the first time since 2002 as it takes on the UAB Blazers (6-2) in the second round of the 41st Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
THE RAINBOW CLASSIC -- Besides USC, Georgetown, Oral Roberts, Long Beach State, Hawaii, UAB, Clemson and Indiana State are competing at the tournament. The Trojans opened with a 68-64 win over Indiana State on Tuesday (Dec. 21). Should Troy win today, they will take on the winner of Hawaii-Oral Roberts in the championship game on Thursday (Dec. 23) at7:30 p.m. If the Trojans lose, they'll play the loser of that game on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the third-place game. USC has played in three previous Rainbow Classics and is looking for its first championship in the tournament since 1975.
SCOUTING UAB -- The Blazers of Conference USA are 6-2 and coming off an impressive 78-66 win over Clemson in round one of the Rainbow Classic. They are led by twin guards Donell and Ronell Taylor (15.9 and 11.0 ppg, respectively) and junior forward Demario Eddins (13.0 ppg). The Blazers play a pressure defense that creates a ton of turnovers, as evidenced by their 12.7 steals per game, among the best in the nation.
BACK FROM PARADISE -- USC returns home to play Southern on Dec. 28 at the Sports Arena before opening Pac-10 play at Oregon on Dec. 31 and at Oregon State on Jan. 2.
LAST GAME -- The Trojans exploded to a 20-point halftime lead, then held on to beat Indiana St, 68-64, behind 14 points and 10 rebounds from senior forward Gregg Guenther. ISU's point total was the fewest allowed by USC all season. Freshman point guard Gabe Pruitt added a game-high 16 points (tying his career best) to go with a career-high seven rebounds as the Trojans moved their win-streak to three games, their first three-game streak since the end of the 2003 season.
SERIES HISTORY - This is the first meeting between UAB and USC in men's basketball.
THE COACHES -
UAB: Mike Anderson is in his third season as coach of the Blazers, with an overall record of 54-27.
USC senior forward Gregg Guenther is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in the last four games.
Freshman point guard Gabe Pruitt is averaging 12.3 points and 5.0 assists since he became a starter five games ago (USC is 4-1 with Pruitt as the starting PG, the only blemish a 3-point loss to Fresno State).
Sophomore guard Lodrick Stewart is averaging 18.6 points per game in the last five games. He leads the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg.
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