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Floyd, Bennett appear almost ready to rumble

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Times Staff Writer

For a moment there, the drama of a double-overtime game took a backseat to the spectacle on the sideline.

Washington State Coach Tony Bennett was heatedly pointing at the USC bench late in the second overtime, apparently upset by a verbal exchange between assistant coaches during the Cougars’ eventual 88-86 victory.

Bennett and Trojans Coach Tim Floyd then met near the scorer’s table, “face to face like they were about to go into a boxing ring,” USC junior swingman Nick Young said. “It was very intense.”

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Police stepped onto the court in an attempt to defuse the situation, and afterward Bennett described it as little more than a misunderstanding.

“I think one of my assistants and their assistants started hooking it up and I was trying to say, ‘Hey, I thought he was talking to me,’ ” Bennett said. “And then Floyd thought I was talking to him. And I was like, ‘No, I’m trying to tell the other [assistant] to back off.’

“It was kind of one of those deals. Just heat of the moment, and I apologize to Coach Floyd and the other assistant. Hey, I just got caught up in it. There was just some emotion in that building tonight.”

Floyd and Bennett put the incident behind them afterward, with Floyd calling his counterpart “a good guy and a hell of a coach.”

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Having lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, No. 23 USC will almost surely fall out of the rankings entering the Pacific 10 Conference tournament, which might be a good thing for the Trojans. They went 2-5 as a ranked team during the regular season.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com


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