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Curtis’ Return Should Help

Times Staff Writer

Even while being pounded inside by Washington State, USC’s frontcourt got a boost for the immediate future with the return of junior forward Nick Curtis, who has been out because of knee tendinitis and had last played Dec. 13 at Brigham Young.

And although Curtis had more fouls (three) than points (two) and rebounds (zero) in his seven minutes against the Cougars, he showed flashes of his springy, high-flying game with a put-back basket above the rim.

“I felt good, but none of that matters really with this loss,” Curtis said. “But it’s about time [I played]. I just had to get out there and run.”

Curtis said he felt no discomfort in his knees after the game.

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Said Coach Henry Bibby: “It was good to play as many guys as you can in as many minutes. I think we’re solid up front. With the exception of this weekend, my big guys have played well.”

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The Trojans, who had endured two canceled flights and nearly 10 hours of delays because of bad weather, had an omen Saturday morning. Their bus broke down and they had to take taxicabs to the arena from their hotel.

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USC, already scheduled to play in the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii in December, has signed to play a nonconference home-and-home series with North Carolina beginning next season. The first game will be in North Carolina.

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UP NEXT

Thursday vs. No. 3 Arizona, 8 p.m., Fox Sports Net 2 -- Arizona has won nine of the last 11 games against the Trojans. USC’s last two victories against the Wildcats came in 2002, 81-73, and in 2000, 80-72, both in the Sports Arena.

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