Trojans add Mayo to winning recipe

SEATTLE - Memo to Seattle - O.J. Mayo likes your town. The freshman phenom went for 29 in his first visit to the Emerald City, and the USC Trojans used a 21-5 run to start the second half as they pulled away from the Washington Huskies, cruising to an easy 73-59 victory. The win was Tim Floyd's 300th as a college coach.

The second half of conference play started with a whimper for the beleaguered Huskies, coming off a devastating sweep at home against the Northern California schools. Ice cold from outside, the Huskies let a momentum-changing flurry of buckets at the end of the first half go for naught, as they came out of the break unable to answer the Trojans' attack.

With their fourth-straight loss - the last three at home, the first time that has happened in five years - the Huskies' (12-11, 3-7) slim NCAA tournament hopes are on the verge of trickling away. Meanwhile, the Trojans (15-7, 6-4 Pac-10) are riding high, winners of five of their last six while rising into a tie for third in the conference after a 1-3 start to Pac-10 play.

The game started slowly, with the Huskies showing zone for the early part of the first half as both teams struggled to find their mark.

"We didn't think we matched up very well with them," said Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar afterwards on using the zone.

At the 12:25 mark of the first period, Washington got what they thought would be a big break as Trojan forward Taj Gibson picked up his third foul and was sent to the bench. The Trojans weren't fazed, going on a 12-4 run, behind a Mayo flurry of shots. The freshman guard netted 16 of the Trojans' first 22 points.

The Trojans continued to pour it on, stretching the lead to 14 points before the Huskies finally responded behind an unlikely source, long-shooting 7-footer Joe Wolfinger. The little-used sophomore made his presence felt immediately, swatting Trojan guard Dwight Lewis and racing down the court to drill a 3-pointer. It was the Huskies' only shot from deep that went down in the half

Moments later, a steal by Tim Morris lead to a fast break bucket by Jon Brockman, and a pull-up jumper by Justin Dentmon brought the Trojan lead back to four. A Dentmon buzzer-beater moments later sent the Huskies into the locker room at the break down just three, 36-33.

Those three players finished the game as the Huskies' top scorers. Brockman - still slowed by a sore groin - scored 13 points and added 14 rebounds. Morris added 11 points, and Dentmon finished the game with 10 points.

The momentum shifted back in the Trojans' favor coming out of the break, going on an 19-0 run to open the half and taking a commanding 57-38 lead. Mayo was everywhere, draining 3-pointers, blitzing the post, and generally making life miserable for Washington defenders. The USC star finished with a game-high 29 points on 11 of 22 shooting.

"We weren't able to sustain a consistent defensive effort for the entire 35-second shot clock," explained Romar. "We turned the ball over, and it just began to unravel."

Brockman - who has been the Huskies' most-consistent scoring threat, never got untracked as the Trojans double teamed him relentlessly, their superior length allowing them to constantly alter his shots.

Despite the 14-point outcome, the final score didn't reflect the blowout nature of the game. The Huskies were dominated by the more athletic Trojans and any notion that Washington might be ready to turn the corner and make a postseason run is gone.

Unless the Huskies make a dramatic turnaround - starting this Sunday against UCLA - it would appear that the Huskies have only their pride left to play for.
Statistics:
Points: Brockman 13, Morris 11, Dentmon 10, Bryan-Amaning 7, Appleby 5, Overton 4, Wolfinger 3, Smith 2, Holiday 2, Pondexter 2
Minutes: Brockman 37, Morris 27, Appleby 27, Dentmon 27, Smith 17, Overton 16, Pondexter 15, Wallace 11, Bryan-Amaning 9, Wolfinger 8, Holiday 6
Rebounds: Brockman 14, Pondexter 6, TEAM 6, Overton 4, Bryan-Amaning 3, Morris 2, Appleby 2, Smith 2, Dentmon 2, Holiday 2, Wolfinger 1
Assists: Smith 3, Dentmon 3, Overton 2, Morris 2, Brockman 1, Appleby 1
Steals: Overton 2, Holiday 2, Morris 1, Appleby 1, Smith 1, Dentmon 1
Blocks: Brockman 1, Dentmon 1, Bryan-Amaning 1, Wolfinger 1


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