Middling against majors


USC demonstrated through its first 10 games that it could beat mid-major opponents.

The Trojans, however, are 0-3 against teams from major conferences, losing to Seton Hall of the Big East and Missouri and Oklahoma of the Big 12.

Tonight at the Galen Center, USC is expected to get another major test from Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference.


The Yellow Jackets are 7-2 after an 86-58 victory Saturday over Pepperdine, a team USC struggled to hold off last Monday after nearly blowing a 23-point halftime lead.

The Trojans (7-3) came back Saturday to defeat North Dakota State, 61-57. USC committed 20 turnovers against the Bison, but avoided the defensive lapses that nearly proved costly against Pepperdine.

“We still have to cut our turnovers down, that’s the primary thing, but we did improve on staying between our guy and the basket,” USC Coach Tim Floyd said.

With Dwight Lewis making only two of 10 shots against North Dakota State, freshman forward DeMar DeRozan stepped up and scored a career-best 18 points. DeRozan made eight of 11 shots and two of three free throws.

“He got himself to the line like all good scorers do,” Floyd said. “I think he’s finally starting to understand that guys that score the basketball at this level and the next level shoot free throws.”

That’s a good point

Georgia Tech also features a talented freshman, point guard Iman Shumpert, who averages 11.8 points and 6.3 assists.

Shumpert scored 12 of his 15 points against Pepperdine during a 27-8 run that put the Yellow Jackets firmly in control. He finished with seven assists for a team that has five players averaging more than 10 points.

“I feel like I can score when I want to score, when I need to score,” Shumpert told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game. “But for me, it’s seeing those big guys get those touches, those dunks that make me happy. Instead of getting myself a smile when I’m scoring every time, I’d rather get them to score, get them to smile.”