Turnaround Trojans

first_imgThird-seeded USC advances to face fourth-seeded Oregon today at 3 p.m. in the conference final. No player currently on the team had won a game in the Pac-10 Tournament before this week. The Trojans have never won the tournament – their best finish was as runners-up in 2002. Beating Stanford on Thursday likely put to rest any lingering doubts that the Trojans will make the NCAA Tournament. Now they are working on improving their seeding. This victory gives USC its seventh win over a top-25 team this season. The Trojans are 7-4 against ranked opponents, a statistic that should impress the NCAA selection committee Sunday. USC (23-10) is now one victory away from equaling the highest total in its 101-year history. The Trojans also had 24 wins in 2001, 1992, 1974 and 1971. The Trojans were uncharacteristically living off the 3-pointer in the first half. With every 3-pointer that left their hands Friday and the fist-pumps that followed, they looked like players who have come a long way to get this opportunity at success and weren’t going to let it pass them by. The three veterans combined to score 33 of USC’s first 34 points to spark the Trojans to a 70-61 victory over No. 11 Washington State in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals at Staples Center. LOS ANGELES – Gabe Pruitt, Nick Young and Lodrick Stewart suffered through USC basketball before the hire of coach Tim Floyd. They experienced the lowest depths in Trojans basketball history, and sometimes it shows. center_img Pruitt, who scored a game-high 26 points, had all 15 of his first-half points off 3-point attempts. He made four from beyond the arc and hit three free throws after being fouled on one try. Stewart scored eight points in a row in one stretch, connecting on two 3-pointers and a long jumper, to give the Trojans a 23-14 lead. He scored 15 in the game. Young added another two from downtown, making USC eight-of-12 on 3-pointers in the first half. The Trojans averaged 5.5 3-pointers per game entering Friday USC led by as many as 10 in the first half but Derrick Low hit a double-clutch 3-pointer around Daniel Hackett at the halftime buzzer to draw the Cougars within 38-34. Taj Gibson, who scored just three points in the first half, scored USC’s first seven points in the second half to hold off a Cougars run. Pruitt got hot again midway through the second half to help the Trojans avoid another last-minute finish with the Cougars. He hit a long jumper with his foot on the line, then connected on a 3-pointer from the left-baseline to put USC ahead 53-44. Washington State called a timeout, and Pruitt gave Dwight Lewis a big chest bump near the bench. Later, USC went more than five minutes without scoring, its lead dwindling down to four. Aron Baynes, the big 6-foot-10, 270-pound center for Washington State, pushed the 6-9, 210-pound Gibson around in the teams’ last meeting. Baynes scored a career-high 25 points, making all 10 of his shots. This time around, Gibson had 15 points and nine rebounds while holding Baynes to seven points. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Newcastle manager reveals training ground scare

first_img Newcastle manager Steve McLaren reveals club feared Siem de Jong would lose sight after training ground incident 1 Luckless Newcastle midfielder Siem de Jong feared he could lose the sight in one eye after a freak training ground accident.The 26-year-old Holland international was rushed to hospital with blood pouring from the eye after a training ground accident on Wednesday, and there were genuine fears that he had suffered permanent damage.However, while he faces up to two weeks on the sidelines, a relieved De Jong has been told he should make a full recovery.Head coach Steve McClaren, who was attending the memorial service for former Magpies goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek at the time, said: “It was just in training and he accidentally got poked in the eye.“He went down screaming, so they said ‘Let’s have a look at your eye’ and there was blood pouring from it. He wears contact lenses, and one of the contacts had come out and gone into his eye.”Asked if there was a fear de Jong could have been blinded, McClaren replied: “Yes, yes, a massive danger, a big danger. He was rushed to hospital.“I was just back from the memorial and I got a call saying there’d been an accident in training, so I was thinking, ‘Which one?’, and it was Siem.“But by the time I got back, he was here (at the training ground) and the doc said, ‘It’s not too bad – but it looks bad’.“I’ve seen him this morning and it looks a lot better. Fortunately, the doctor says [it needs] probably a week or two to settle down, so he’s very lucky.”The accident is the latest misfortune to hit de Jong, who has made just 22 appearances, only seven of them starts, for the club he joined from Ajax during the summer of 2014.His fitness problems to date include a collapsed lung – the second of his career – which sidelined him for two months last season.last_img read more