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McMillan Hits a Low Point

Times Staff Writer

Arguably USC’s best player before the Trojans began Pacific 10 Conference play, junior power forward Jeff McMillan has hit a wall.

It was never more apparent than during Thursday night’s letdown loss to Washington, when McMillan played a career-low six minutes, all in the first half, and finished with one rebound, two turnovers and no points on 0-for-1 shooting.

“It’s kind of hard to explain; I’ve just got to get it going again and step up,” said McMillan, who, in USC’s game at Washington State on Jan. 10 needed a painkilling shot in his left hip to play. His left knee has been bothering him of late.

“It’s day to day,” he said. “Some days it’s loose and others it’s tight.”

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McMillan, whose field goal percentage of 63.1% still leads the Pac-10, is averaging 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds overall, 8.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in conference play.

Coach Henry Bibby said McMillan, who transferred from Fordham two summers ago and had to sit out last season but averaged 39.2 minutes during one stretch of pre-Pac-10 games, was not totally sound.

“But he fights through it and never complains about anything,” Bibby said, before explaining why he sat McMillan against the Huskies.

“He just wasn’t playing well. You can kind of tell when Jeff is

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Said McMillan, “It was definitely frustrating [sitting], but other guys were stepping up and I really wasn’t doing anything.”

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Senior guard Desmon Farmer, who is averaging 22.5 points in conference play, had an X-ray of his left heel, injured against Washington, and results were negative.

“I jumped up in the air and came down sideways on it,” said Farmer, who is also nursing a sore left, shooting hand. “It bruised the bone but I’m good.”

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Farmer needs 32 points to pass Derrick Dowell and John Rudometkin for fifth place on the USC scoring list.

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TONIGHT

vs. Washington State, 8

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Fox Sports Net 2, HDNet

Site -- Sports Arena.

Radio -- KMPC (1540), KSPA (1510), XEMM (800).

Records -- USC 9-10, 4-6; Washington State 10-10, 4-6.

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Update -- Washington State, which scored a season-high 76 points in its 15-point pasting of USC in Spokane on Jan. 10, is averaging a Pac-10-low 55 points in league games. The Cougars, though, lead the conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of 58.4 points.


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