Trojans trounce Huskies in Seattle

When a player like Washington walk-on David Hudson scores more points than Doug Wrenn, the team's leading scorer this season, that results won't often be good. That was the case tonight as Hudson scored nine points in just three minutes of "garbage time" while Wrenn was an ice-cold 2-9 from the field and limited to just eight points in 34 minutes. The numbers don't lie, and thus the results weren't good for the Purple and Gold tonight.

Led by their three starting seniors, the University of Southern California Trojans showed the young Washington Huskies just how far they still have to go before becoming a contender with a dominating 87-65 win over the home team Thursday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Senior point guard Brandon Granville led the way with a career-high 27 point performance, eclipsing his previous high of 25 set two weeks ago against Long Beach State. Fellow seniors Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal also carried their weight well. Clancy, the Trojans' bulky 6-7 power forward in the mold of the Minnesota Timberwolves' Gary Trent, scored 25 points, while Bluthenthal added 14 for the Trojan cause.

"When those guys play, they're pretty good, and you saw them play pretty good tonight," said USC Head Coach Henry Bibby of his three starting seniors. "Those are the three guys that are going to have to carry us. Sometimes, we get maybe one, one-and-a-half of those guys to play, but all three played for us tonight and that was a big difference."

The game was really never close. From the opening tip-off, the Huskies were a step slower than the opponents from Southern California. It didn't take long for that to show up on the scoreboard. USC (9-2, 1-0 Pac-10) raced out to a 13-4 lead just 3:09 into the game, led by Granville's knack for finding holes in the Husky zone defense. By the time 10 minutes had elapsed, the Trojans had built the lead up to 14 points by using a full-court press that gave the Huskies fits.

Washington (6-5, 0-2 Pac-10) would never get the deficit back under double-digits. The closest they would come is 11 after a thunderous in-your-face dunk by freshman Erroll Knight. But before the Huskies could build any momentum or get the crowd of 6,318 into the game, Granville and the Trojans answered in grand fashion. On USC's first possession after the Knight slam, Granville came down the court, took a pass from junior Robert Hutchinson, and drilled a three-pointer to put the lead back to 14. After the Huskies failed to score on the other end of the court, the speedy senior came down and swished another trey, this one while fading away from the right wing.

He finished the first half with 20 points, and the Trojans went to intermission with a comfortable 48-32 lead.

They went on to outscore the UW 39-33 in the second half, never allowing the Huskies to get back into the game.

"We were outmatched physically and beat in a lot of ways tonight," said Washington Head Coach Bob Bender. "This game was a carbon copy of what you can't do against USC because they can exploit you in so many ways. This is a learning process and the team needs to use this as a tool for understanding on another level, and that is my job to help them."

An area where Washington appeared to need immediate work was beating the full-court press UCLA used it to perfection against the Huskies a week ago and USC had been using it all season, so the Washington coaches knew what they were in for coming into the game. But the young backcourt still didn't have a clue as to how to move the ball upcourt while being pursued. Instead of attacking the press, the Husky ball-handlers let defenders swarm around them. USC's tactic paid off and forced Washington into many turnovers.

"Even when we broke it, we were tentative on offense," admitted Bender.

The Huskies hadn't played a game in a week, their previous contest coming last Thursday at home against UCLA. With seven days to prepare for the Trojans, they failed to come out with any intensity for the home crowd. That's something that Bender was afraid of after seeing the way the team practiced late this week.

"The past two days in practice have been very disjointed and the concentration was not there," the head coach said. "We were just going through the motions."

That translated into sloppy play tonight as the Huskies turned the ball over 25 times to the Trojans 10.

Knight, the Huskies' leading scorer with 13 points despite playing with a sore foot, questioned his team's effort after the game.

"I think it was effort," he said. "(USC) was just going for loose balls and battling for offensive rebounds. We didn't show (effort), and we have to come with it more every day in practice and in games."

Josh Barnard was the Huskies only other double-digit scorer besides Knight, hitting for 10 points on 4-8 shooting.



Game Notes:

Star Gazing: Former Rainier Beach High School star Jamal Crawford and former Enumclaw High product Brian Scalabrine, both current NBA players, sat behind the USC bench for the game. Crawford now plays for the Chicago Bulls and is out for the season with a knee injury. Scalabrine, the Trojans' sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,441 career points, is currently on the New Jersey Nets' injured list.

Hard-Fought History: After tonight's contest, the Trojans hold a 60-55 edge in the series versus the Huskies that dates back to 1925.

Up Next: Washington will welcome Charles Frederick to the team when they head east to play St. Louis for a 5 p.m. tip-off on December 29th. Frederick, a receiver on the football team, will take a flight to St. Louis from San Diego after the Holiday Bowl game is completed and will arrive in time for the game. Whether or not he will play, given the fact that he has yet to practice with the hoops team this season, is another matter.



Game Stats:

Washington: Scoring: Knight 13, Barnard 10, Hudson 9, Wrenn 8, Dixon 8, Allen 6, Massingale 5, Conroy 4, Leep 2 Rebounds: Dixon 8, Wrenn 6, Leep 4, Day 4, Conroy 2, Barnard 2, Massingale 2, Brown 2, Allen 1, Knight 1 Assists: Allen 4, Conroy 3, Knight 3, Barnard 2, Wrenn 2, Day 1 Steals: Allen 1, Brown 1, Day 1, Conroy 1 Blocks: Day 3, Dixon 1, Wrenn 1

USC: Scoring: Granville 27, Clancy 25, Bluthenthal 14, Craven 12, Farmer 3, Dupree 2, Curtis 2, Hutchinson 2 Rebounds: Bluthenthal 9, Clancy 5, Craven 4, Farmer 3, Charissis 3, Hutchinson 2, Dupree 1, Busterna 1, Granville 1 Assists: Hutchinson 5, Granville 4, Farmer 4, Clancy 3, Craven 3, Bluthenthal 2, O'Neil 1 Steals: Granville 4, Clancy 3, Craven 1, Hutchinson 1, Farmer 1 Blocks: None

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