Trojans have been more miss than hit on the court
For a four-game stretch from Nov. 22 through Nov. 30, USC shot the lights out, making more than half its attempts each game.
But for the last three games, all losses in which USC has shot 36% or lower, the Trojans are shooting as if those lights are still out.
What happened before that’s not happening now?
“We were finishing better in the paint,” USC Coach Kevin O’Neill said Sunday, a day before his Trojans (4-7) were to play host to Texas Christian (7-3) at the Galen Center.
“Aaron [Fuller] was finishing a little better in the paint. We were getting to the rim a little bit more. We were doing a better job of getting to the foul line.”
O’Neill added that if guard Maurice Jones doesn’t shoot a great percentage, the team often doesn’t. “We kind of go as he goes,” O’Neill said.
Jones missed 10 of 14 shots in USC’s 63-59 loss to Georgia on Saturday night.
Though Jones is the Trojans’ leading scorer (14.7 points per game), he’s shooting 37% this season.
One reason: Defenses game-plan almost solely to stop Jones.
Another: He’s playing a nation-leading 39.6 minutes per game.
“It’s starting to take a toll on him,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said he needs to rest Jones more, but he’s said that often this season.
A lot to learn
Forward Dewayne Dedmon hasn’t scored in double figures since getting 15 points in a victory over South Carolina on Nov. 26.
A day after that game, an MRI exam revealed a stress injury in his right foot, which has slowed Dedmon since.
But O’Neill said Dedmon’s steep learning curve -- the Lancaster native began playing organized basketball at 18 -- is also hindering him.
“Dewayne’s not a good post player right now,” O’Neill said after Dedmon scored five points in the loss to Georgia. “He’s more of a jump shooter than anything. He hasn’t developed a post game.
“We knew that coming in. Aaron’s our hope to develop a post game inside and our other hope is in Philly, unfortunately a year early,” O’Neill added, referring to former USC forward Nikola Vucevic, who left school early and became a first-round NBA draft pick by Philadelphia.
As for Dedmon’s improving his post game, O’Neill said the foot injury is slowing his ability to practice.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.