USC Falls To Oregon In OT Heartbreaker, 94-87
March 4, 2005
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bryce Taylor had 23 points and Maarty Leunen scored fiveof his seven points in the final 57.1 seconds of overtime, leading Oregon to a94-87 victory over USC on Thursday night.
Malik Hairston scored 19 points for Oregon (14-12, 6-11 Pac-10). AaronBrooks, whose career-high 34 points against the Trojans in the Ducks'conference-opening victory at Eugene on New Year's Eve equaled the most by anysophomore in school history, finished with 14.
The Trojans (11-17, 4-12) have lost eight of their last 10 games, and willmiss the Pac-10 tournament for the first time in the eight seasons it has beenheld. What makes it even more frustrating for the Trojans is that thetournament will take place a couple of miles up Figueroa Street at StaplesCenter.
Nick Young scored 21 points and Rory O'Neill had 17 for the Trojans, who are9-15 under interim coach Jim Saia since the firing of Henry Bibby on Dec. 6.Saia will relinquish the head coaching duties to Tim Floyd on April 1.
Oregon has beaten USC six straight times, including the title game of the2003 Pac-10 tournament. It's the second-longest winning streak for the Ducksagainst the Trojans since the schools began playing each other in 1956. Oregonbeat them nine straight times between 1987 and 1991, including an opening-roundmatchup in the '87 Pac-10 tournament.
Leunen gave Oregon an 87-84 lead with a 3-pointer, then added two freethrows 20 seconds later. Young's 3-pointer cut the margin to two with 24.2seconds left, but USC's Gregg Guenther missed a short baseline jumper with 13.2seconds to go after Oregon's Chamberlain Oguchi made one of two from the line.
The Ducks put it away with two free throws each from Brooks and Oguchi forthe final margin, matching their biggest lead of the game.
USC trailed by five points in the final two minutes of regulation beforeYoung hit a 12-foot jumper that got a friendly bounce off the rim and missedthe ensuing free throw trying for the three-point play. But O'Neal tipped inYoung's miss, cutting Oregon's lead to 76-75 with 1:41 left.
Brooks made one of two at the line for the Ducks, and Young's two freethrows tied it at 77-all with 40.4 seconds left. The Ducks called a timeoutwith 27 seconds left to set up a play, but Mitch Platt threw up an 18-footairball with 5.1 seconds on the clock.
The Trojans inbounded after a timeout and Gebriel Pruitt dribbled the lengthof the court for an apparent game-winning layup, but was called for anoffensive charge and fouled out after running into Platt with 1.5 seconds left.
The Trojans had a slightly easier time in the paint against Oregon than theydid the last time the Ducks visited the L.A. Sports Arena, when 7-foot centerIan Crosswhite had 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in Oregon's 92-74victory. Crosswhite was suspended for the rest of this season on Feb. 9 forviolating Athletic Department policy.
The Ducks, 3-4 without Crosswhite, began their centennial season with an 9-1record. They have to beat UCLA on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion to have a chanceat qualifying for the Pac-10 tournament and a return trip to Los Angeles.
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