Oregon State-USC Preview

Jan. 26, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A two-game losing streak that could have sent Southern California into atailspin has had the opposite effect.

The No. 25 Trojans go for their third straight victory Saturday when theyface injury-riddled Oregon State at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

USC (14-4, 4-2 Pac-10) fell 80-75 to unranked crosstown rival UCLA on Jan.11, a defeat that knocked the Trojans out of first place in the conference, andthen lost 71-58 to Arizona last Thursday in Wildcats coach Lute Olson's firstgame back with the team following the death of his wife.

Instead of allowing the emotionally charged losses to get to them, theTrojans responded with victories over Arizona State and Oregon.

The Trojans nearly blew a 16-point lead in the final five minutes againstthe Ducks, but held on for a 78-74 victory Thursday. Sam Clancy scored 21points and teammate Brian Scalabrine, who was held scoreless against Arizona,added 20 for the Trojans.

'Sam Clancy dominated,' USC coach Henry Bibby said. 'He did everythingduring that stretch (building the 16-point lead) to get us up there.'

While many expected Scalabrine to be the focal point of the offense thisseason, Clancy has filled that role, leading the team in scoring andrebounding.

'What's happening a lot is that people concentrate on Brian Scalabrine alot,' Bibby said. 'They go into the game saying, 'Brian is the guy, Brian isthe guy,' and there's nobody that can cover Sam.'

Oregon State (8-10, 2-4) has seen its roster decimated by injuries. TheBeavers originally listed 14 players on their team, but are down to nine andlost sophomore forward Brian Jackson during Thursday's 67-40 loss to UCLA.

'It has been a challenge to put combinations on the floor that give us achance for success,' coach Ritchie McKay said. 'We can't worry about what hashappened this year, it's the hand we have been dealt.'

The lack of depth has forced Oregon State to employ a slowdown style toremain competitive. However, the tactic has mostly been successful only duringthe first 20 minutes, as teams have been able to pull away from Oregon State inthe second half.

The Beavers hold a 51-50 lead in the all-time series with USC, but theTrojans have won the last three meetings and five straight in the series athome.

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