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USC Will Attempt to Come Out of Tailspin at Corvallis

Times Staff Writer

After losing 3 of its last 4 games, USC’s basketball team hopes to bounce back tonight against Oregon State.

Although the Beavers, 7-3 overall and 0-2 in the Pacific 10, have been inconsistent, USC Coach George Raveling respects Coach Ralph Miller’s team.

“I learned a long time ago that you never count a Ralph Miller-coached team out of anything,” Raveling said. “I’ll bet you a guy could have made a good living over the years going to Vegas before the season started and betting on Miller’s teams.”

The Beavers are led by guards Eric Knox and Gary Payton.

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Knox, a 6-foot 2-inch senior from Inglewood, is averaging 14.6 points while coming off the bench. Payton, a 6-3 junior, is averaging 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 9 assists.

“Gary Payton is a lot like Ralph Miller in that he’s never gotten the credit he deserves,” Raveling said. “I don’t know of a player and coach who have gone through their careers getting more done and getting less credit for it than those two guys.”

Although USC (7-5, 0-1) has matched its victory total of last season, Raveling is frustrated with the Trojans’ inability to win close games.

“We should be 9-3,” he said. “We get ourselves in a position to win and we’re unable to finish it off. It’s like going to a party and you get to dance with the prettiest girl there and you’re afraid to ask her for a date.”

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