USC basketball: Latest turmoil is two players' post-practice fight

Two USC basketball players tussle after practice, the latest in a season of turmoil

It has been a tumultuous basketball season for USC. The Trojans have just two Pac-12 Conference wins. Seven of their last nine losses have been decided by just a few possessions. Point guard Jordan McLaughlin has been injured. And last week, three players were sent back to Los Angeles for a violation of team rules.

This week, just as one problem was solved, another flared. This time, a post-practice fight.

Darion Clark and Julian Jacobs were involved in a physical altercation after practice Tuesday. USC Coach Andy Enfield said it was a personal issue, with emotions bubbling over, that was not related to the team's performance.

"They're good friends, so there's nothing there," Enfield said. "They've made up and they just got into an argument about something trivial. … We had a great practice today so they both realized that they lost their temper."

Enfield said neither player would be disciplined.

The three players sent back to Los Angeles last week, Katin Reinhardt, Chass Bryan and Devon Pflueger, practiced and have been reinstated for USC's game Wednesday night at the Galen Center against Washington State.

Enfield said the team has meshed despite a frustrating season.

"Our team chemistry's awesome," Enfield said. "We played so well on Sunday, the whole team played well. We had great team chemistry, so it's nothing."

He added: "There's nothing serious, no suspensions, nothing like that."

UCLA update

UCLA Coach Steve Alford underwent surgery for a hernia on Monday morning. A team spokesman said the coach still hopes to guide the Bruins on Wednesday night when they play Washington at Pauley Pavilion.

"He's trying to makes sure he gets a lot of rest today so he can be back tomorrow," Alford's son Bryce said before practice.

Senior guard Norman Powell said Coach Alford had been texting players and that he spoke with the team before they watched film on Monday.

The final three home games could be significant for UCLA's NCAA Tournament hopes. Most projections list the Bruins as a bubble team that cannot afford more losses.

"We're just going to try to make it as easy as possible for him so he doesn't get another hernia and yell at us on the bench," Powell said.

USC VS. WASHINGTON STATE

When: 7.

Where: Galen Center.

On the air: TV: Pac-12 Networks; Radio: 690.

Records: USC 10-17, 2-13 in the Pac-12; Washington State 11-15, 5-9.

Update: The Trojans keep losing the close ones: They've lost 11 of their last 12 games, with eight of the defeats coming by eight points or fewer and by a total of 37 points. Against Arizona State on Sunday, they led by 10 points in the second half before slumping late in a 64-59 loss. USC played that game without starting point guard Jordan McLaughlin, sidelined since reinjuring his surgically repaired left shoulder Feb. 11, and Katin Reinhardt, Chass Bryan and Devon Pflueger, suspended for violating team rules. The three will play against the Cougars, who've lost four of five.

UCLA VS. WASHINGTON

When: 8.

Where: Pauley Pavilion.

On the air: TV: ESPN2; Radio: 570.

Records: UCLA 16-12, 8-7 in the Pac-12; Washington 15-11, 4-10.

Update: After being swept on the road at Arizona State and Arizona, the Bruins will finish out the regular season with three games at home, where they have lost just once all season. A loss in any of the three games would be damaging to UCLA’s NCAA tournament hopes. Most projections list the Bruins on the fringes of the field. The Huskies had lost seven games in a row until a win over Washington State on Sunday, and they are 1-6 since dismissing talented center Robert Upshaw from the team. His absence could spark UCLA center Tony Parker, who fouled out in both games in Arizona without making a field goal.

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand

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