Notebook: USC loses fifth straight

USC fell to 3-6 on Saturday after losing to No. 14 Minnesota, 71-57. The Trojans have now lost five straight.

Five straight
USC lost its fifth straight game Saturday night hosting No. 14 Minnesota. The latest loss drops the Trojans to 3-6 this season.

Though it's clearly not the start Coach Kevin O'Neill wanted to get off to, it is noted that three of those five losses were to top-25 teams, including No. 25 San Diego State and No. 18 New Mexico.

"The combined record of the people we've been playing is ridiculous," O'Neill said after the loss. "And it's not consolation to lose to five ranked teams."

"You've got to find a way to beat those teams at some point, or beat two of them," he said.

Slow starts
If the Trojans have a knack for anything so far this season, it's digging themselves a hole to start the game.

Saturday felt like déjà vu of their contest against SDSU, as the Trojans fell behind 9-0 to start the game and were down as many as 17 points in the second period before clawing back to single digit deficits on multiple occasions.

"We've got some guys who played with low energy," O'Neill said, "they get us in a hole and it's tough to come back from that."

"I thought we got much better in the second half, played harder," he said.

O'Neill says changes will be made to the starting lineup to try to prevent slow starts in the future, though he didn't know after the game exactly what those moves would be.

Oraby breakthrough
Rice transfer Omar Oraby was silent through the first half of the game before coming alive after the break.

The 7-foot-2 center finished with a team-high 15 points, all collected in the second period, on 7-of-9 shooting.

"I thought Omar played really well," O'Neill said. "He's got size, he can catch, he rebounds, he blocks shots."

"He's going to have to get a ton of time," O'Neill continued. "We're going to have to run things through he and Jio [Fontan], basically."

Though contributing 15 points, Oraby was only 1-of-5 from the free throw line with four rebounds.

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