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It’s an Unexpected Great Start for N’diaye

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Times Staff Writer

Abdoulaye N’diaye seemed like a man on a mission Saturday at Staples Center.

The 6-foot-11 center scored USC’s first four points, blocked a shot by Stanford’s Taj Finger and nearly scored again before a shot from point-blank range rolled off the rim.

Count Trojan Coach Tim Floyd among those most surprised by the early outburst.

“It was not anticipated, it was not directed, and the results were not expected,” Floyd said. “But we were pleased with the results.”

N’diaye finished with a career-high 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks before fouling out with 6 minutes 9 seconds left in the Trojans’ 82-71 victory.

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With the Trojans playing their second game in three days, Floyd relied more heavily on his reserves than he had against California. The results were mostly encouraging.

Freshman forward Jeremy Barr scored eight points and made two critical free throws in 20 minutes and freshman guard Sead Odzic helped the starters rest during his 13 minutes. Senior guard Dwayne Shackleford helped handle the ball during his seven minutes and forwards Keith Wilkinson and Greg Gaudino made brief appearances.

The one negative was Barr’s grabbing only one rebound.

“We’re just going to have to get more than that one rebound from him every night out,” Floyd said.

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Cardinal Coach Trent Johnson said senior guard Chris Hernandez had suffered a strained shoulder against UCLA. Playing with a bandage on his shoulder, Hernandez scored 15 points on four-for-12 shooting in 39 minutes against USC.

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