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USC men’s basketball season on hold amid COVID-19 outbreak on team

Head coach Andy Enfield speaks with guard Boogie Ellis.
USC coach Andy Enfield, right, speaks with guard Boogie Ellis during a game against Washington State on Dec. 4.
(Young Kwak / Associated Press)

USC’s sensational start to the hoops season is officially on hold amid an outbreak of COVID-19 within its own program.

The Trojans’ final road trip of the non-conference season was cut short Sunday, as the team was forced to cancel its Tuesday matchup with Oklahoma State and pause all team activities due to several confirmed positive cases.

The non-conference matchup, which was billed as part of the Compete 4 Cause Classic, will not be rescheduled. It’s the first game USC hoops has had canceled outright since last December, when the Trojans were also forced to pause all team activities amid an outbreak of the virus. That outbreak claimed two non-conference games, while a conference matchup with Oregon State was rescheduled for later in the season.

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Lakers coach Frank Vogel and guard Kent Bazemore enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Assistant David Fizdale will assume head coaching duties.

USC was forced to reshuffle its schedule several times last season. One matchup with Stanford was moved four times due to COVID-19 issues. Down the stretch last season, the Trojans ended up playing four games in seven days, before jumpstarting a run to the Elite Eight.

The status of USC’s upcoming conference slate this season is still up in the air. The Trojans’ next scheduled matchup isn’t until Dec. 30, when Arizona State is slated to come to Galen Center. USC gets Arizona after that in a marquee, in-conference matchup of top 10 teams.

The sudden pause comes amid a rash of outbreaks forcing cancellations across college basketball. UCLA has canceled each of its last three games, including a matchup with North Carolina, as it deals with COVID-19 issues. UCLA coach Mick Cronin was among those forced to isolate amid an outbreak within the program.

For USC, it’s particularly unfortunate timing. The Trojans had already found their stride during an undefeated, 12-0 start. And with a crucial stretch of conference play ahead in late December and early January, they’ll be forced now to recapture that magic after a lengthy time away from team activities.

The UCLA men’s basketball team will not play a scheduled game against Cal Poly on Wednesday because of COVID-19 issues within the Bruins’ program.


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