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January 7, 2007

Quick start in the conference for USC

The Trojan basketball team entered conference play with a very respectable 10-3 record including eight in a row at home.

That streak continued with a double overtime thriller against a top-25 Washington squad before USC fell to Washington State. But the Men of Troy bounced back quickly, earning a sweep over the weekend up in Oregon.

Three out of four wins including two on the road beginning the Pac-10 season is an amazing start for Tim Floyd and his team. Many of the pundits believe that the Pac-10 is the toughest conference in the country and the Trojans are more than holding their own.

It all started with the game against No. 14 Washington. Nick Young scored 25 points and Taj Gibson added 22 as USC won after two overtimes 86-79. At the time it was Washington's second loss on the road in as many tries, the other being a blowout to Gonzaga.

After the emotional win against the Huskies, there was a bit of a letdown against Washington State two days later. USC fell to WSU 55-52 when the Cougars hit a layup with four seconds on the clock shortly after Gabe Pruitt hit a long three to take the lead.

While disappointing, the loss was still respectable. The Cougars are 14-2 and have wins over Gonzaga and Arizona and nearly defeated No. 1 UCLA.

Then the most unexpected victory occurred on the road up in Eugene. The Pit is considered one of the toughest venues to play in and No. 16 Oregon was one of only three undefeated teams left in the country at the time.

But behind the 19 points of Young and the near triple-double of Gibson (18 points, 13 boards, 7 blocks) the Trojans edged the Ducks 84-82.

Oregon bounced back on Saturday and beat undefeated UCLA 68-66. Just like that the Pac-10 went from having two undefeated teams to none.

There would be no let down in Corvallis as the Trojans routed the Beavers 91-46 behind a career-high 28 points by Lodrick Stewart.

Now at 13-4 and 3-1 in the conference, the Trojans are beginning to earn some respect on a national level.

This Saturday will be the toughest test to date for USC as they host their cross town rival UCLA.

Make sure you get out to the Galen Center to support Floyd and the Trojans against the Bruins. A victory over UCLA would give USC four high quality wins, significantly boost their RPI and put them well on their way to making the NCAA tournament.

Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on Trojan basketball and all USC athletics.


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