Short-handed Trojans are worn down by Huskies


Even before the game began, this was a war of attrition that USC was losing.

Dwight Lewis, USC’s leading scorer, was out with a sprained left ankle. The offense was going to suffer.

As things lurched and the Washington Huskies took the game in their shaky hand, the Trojans showing all the depth of a wading pool.

By the time the crowd at Bank America Arena was into full celebration, it was clear that Washington had too many bodies at work and in motion for a 78-73 victory that left the Huskies tied with UCLA for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference.


Meanwhile, the road USC travels will not get any easier, as they play at Washington State on Saturday. The Trojans have a five-game losing streak in Pullman.

The stat sheet screamed out at USC Coach Tim Floyd, who said, “If you told me before the game that we would have eight more field goals and shoot 47% while they shot 37%, I would have told you we would win the game.”

But that was crunching numbers. What the Trojans needed was someone in crunch time.

USC trimmed Washington’s lead to 55-51 with 7 minutes 6 seconds left. Then the Trojans went without a field goal for three minutes, falling behind, 63-54.

Daniel Hackett tried the fill that void, and finished with season-high 24 points. But the Huskies pulled away, leading by 13 with one minute left before coasting in.

“Too many turnovers, too many foul shots for them,” said a weary Hackett, both legs iced, after playing all 40 minutes.

The Trojans, 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-10, had 20 turnovers. The Huskies (14-4, 5-1) shot 40 free throws, making 32.


“Some of that was when we were fouling at the end, but we were in a zone for 30 minutes,” said Floyd, whose team made 13 of 17 free throws. “To have eight more field goals and lose, that doesn’t happen. I’ll have to look at the film to see what was going on. But we fouled too much to win on the road.”

The Trojans had their chances. What they didn’t have was Lewis. Whether he is able to play Saturday is to be seen, but his presence was missed Thursday.

“He’s a gifted player, one of the best wings in the conference,” Floyd said.

DeMar DeRozan made the effort early, with 12 first half points. He finished with 16 points before fouling out. Leonard Washington and Keith Wilkinson also fouled out, with a combined seven points.

Floyd juggled his lineup, moving DeRozan to guard and starting Wilkinson and Washington.

That left no one on the bench who was averaging more than three points per game.

Marcus Johnson provided some offensive spasms, finishing with eight points.

But the load was left for Hackett and Taj Gibson (15 points) in the second half, particularly after DeRozan fouled out.

“Dwight is our leading scorer and we look to him a lot,” Hackett said. “I tried to be more aggressive out there. Someone had to be more aggressive.”

Washington had four players in double figures.

Isaiah Thomas, who was held without a field goal in the first half, finished with 17 points and Justin Dentmon had a team-high 22.


“Our reserves had to play tonight,” Floyd said.

“Keith Wilkinson, Leonard Washington had been coming off the bench, Marcus Johnson, Nikola Vucevic; they’re out there now.”

But Lewis wasn’t.