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Basketball: Has Gerrity made USC a contender?

Good morning all. Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Did you notice how the Trojans celebrated the holiday?

They won their sixth straight game, holding UNLV (10-2) to a season-low point total in a 67-56 win in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. USC suddenly looks to be — perhaps along with Arizona State — the most serious threat to Cal and Washington at the top of the Pac-10 Conference.

The Trojans (8-4) are unbeaten in four games since Charlotte transfer Mike Gerrity took over at point guard. He scored 13 points in the win over UNLV, and earned tournament MVP honors. Gerrity, a one-time prep star at Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana, is averaging 14.8 points and 4.3 assists, shooting 53 percent from the field.

Marcus Johnson had 19 points and nine rebounds and Dwight Lewis scored 14 against the Runnin’ Rebels, who were unranked in the AP top-25, but were No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today poll.  

Power forward Leonard Washington, academically ineligible for USC’s first eight games, has averaged 9.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg in two games since being cleared to play.

The win was USC’s third in the past four games against teams that had previously lost just once. The Trojans also beat Tennessee and Saint Mary’s.

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Football: Postgame quotes

A sampling of what was said after Wednesday’s game:

COACH JEFF TEDFORD

On regrouping heading into the offseason

It’s quite obvious that the tone will be set with making sure that we go back to work and work hard. It works both ways. You win, you’re still going to work hard. You’re not successful, you’re still going to work hard. It’s not anything different than we ever do. This is going to sting for a while, and then we’re going to regroup.

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Basketball: Encouraging wins for USC, Arizona

 There are only six unbeatens left after New Mexico — which entered the day as one of three undefeated teams with a win over Cal — fell at Oral Roberts.  

AROUND THE PAC-10

– New point guard Mike Gerrity has changed USC (7-4), which won its third in a row with a 60-49 victory over Saint Mary’s (10-2) in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu. Gerrity scored 17 points against the Gaels, shooting 6-for-6 in the first half, and is averaging 15.3 ppg in three games since becoming eligible as a transfer from Charlotte. Sophomore forward Leonard Washington, declared academically eligible to play earlier in the day, contributed 10 points and four rebounds.

– After Arizona blew an eight-point lead in the final 37 seconds, Nic Wise drove the length of the floor for a layup with 1 seconds left and the Wildcats (6-5) beat North Carolina State 76-74. Freshman Derrick Williams led the Cats with 24 points. Wise scored 17 andArizona forced N.C. State (8-3) into 20 turnovers.

Arizona State (10-3) rode 15 points apiece from guards Jamelle McMillan and Ty Abbott to a less-than-overwhelming 61-52 win over USC Upstate (1-10). The Sun Devils prevailed despite the fact that two starters — Rihards Kuksiks and Eric Boateng — combined to shoot 0-for-11.

– Calvin Haynes scored a season-high 25 points and Oregon State (6-5) beat Fresno State 73-65. Lathen Wallace added 13 points and Seth Tarver and Omari Johnson each contributed 12.

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Football: From the press box

  • Nothing major out of the interview room was said tonight. Just a lot of disappointment.
  • Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson started all 52 games of his career, a school record. He also had two pass breakups tonight to give him 36 in his career, also a school record.
  • Shane Vereen finished with 122 yards to give him 952 for the season, meaning the streak of 1,000-yard rushers is over.
  • Only 11 seconds elapsed between Cal’s first two touchdowns.
  • The Pac-10 is now 0-2 this bowl season after going 5-0 last year.

I gotta get out of the press box now so that’s it for now, but I’ll have much more in the morning, including links, transcriptions and more.