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USC Uses Four-Guard Offense to Defeat Kent

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After watching Coach Don Nelson of the Golden State Warriors employ a four-guard offense in the NBA playoffs last season, USC basketball Coach George Raveling borrowed Nelson’s idea.

Junking his three-guard offense, Raveling used a four-guard offense against Kent and the experiment worked as the Trojans defeated the Golden Flashes, 72-64, Friday night in the opening game of Freedom Bowl Tournament at UC Irvine.

The Trojans (5-1), who have won four consecutive games, face UC Irvine tonight at 9 at the Bren Center.

The Trojan guards scored all but 16 of USC’s points. Of the starting guards, Harold Miner had 24 points, Phil Glenn had 11 points and Duane Cooper added 10 points and five assists. Guard Dwayne Hackett had nine points off the bench, and Rodney Chatman had four points.

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“Our four-guard offense is really helping us,” Raveling said. “It creates matchup problems for the other team and it gives us more quickness defensively and offensively and it gives us an extra jump shooter in the game.”

Miner, who is still recovering from a minor foot injury sustained two weeks ago in the Trojans’ 93-84 loss at Nebraska, has been shooting poorly.

Miner, who made only two of 13 shots in the Trojans’ 17-point victory at Gonzaga on Wednesday, hit six of 15 shots against Kent and has made eight of 28 shots (28.6%) in his last two games. An 80% free-throw shooter, Miner even had trouble at the line, missing three consecutive free throws after he was fouled while attempting a three-pointer in the first half.

Miner likes the four-guard offense.

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“It helps us defensively because we have a little more quickness,” Miner said.

With center Yamen Sanders in foul trouble, the Trojans went to the four-guard offense in the first half and outscored Kent, 20-9, to take a 41-17 lead as Hackett made three three-point shots.

Raveling plans to meet with Nelson next week to discuss the offense.

“This is the time of the year when we experiment,” Raveling said. “I’m concerned what we do when Yamen’s in foul trouble. I’d say absolutely that we’re going to play a four-guard offense in the conference.”

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Leading by 19 points at halftime, the Trojans were outscored, 26-16, as Kent cut the lead to 65-56 with 2:43 remaining. After shooting 55.2% in the first half, the Trojans made only 36.8% of their shots in the second half and had 14 turnovers.

But USC hit seven of eight free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes to hold off Kent (2-1).

“I really liked how hard our kids played out there,” Raveling said. “I think we’re capable of playing better because we didn’t get a good game out of some of our starters.”

USC, which plays its fifth game in eight days tonight, appeared tired in the second half.

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“If we can just get by tomorrow night I think the schedule had the remedy for us because we’re off for two weeks,” Raveling said. “It will give us a chance to get some rest and practice. We haven’t had a chance to make any kind of adjustments.”

Trojan Notes

Trojan guard Harold Miner needs 13 points to move past John Block into fifth place on the Trojans’ career scoring list. Block scored 1,423 points from 1963-65 and Miner has scored 1,411 points. . . . USC center Yamen Sanders failed to score for the second time in six games this season, missing five shots. . . . Kent forwards Tony Banks and David Kremling and center John Wilson together made only seven of 25 shots.


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