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Huskies Battle USC Tonight

The Huskies enter a very important stretch of the season tonight when the LA invasion starts with a game with the USC Trojans. This isn't going to be an easy game because the Trojans match up pretty well with Washington on the inside.

I think what wins the game tonight is experience on the inside, a vocal home court crowd, and the play of Washington on the perimeter.

I always say that don't I?

I think as we make our first trip through the Pac Ten the deciding factor is always how well we match up in the back court. Isaiah has been impressive and improving every game but it is always interesting to see how he competes with talented and experienced veterans.

The Trojans have won nine of their last 12 games with all the losses being by only one point at Oklahoma, in overtime at Oregon St. and by four to UCLA.

USC is led by Taj Gibson who has averaged 14.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in USC's first 17 games, including eight double-doubles giving him 24 in his career. Taj has the ability to score both inside and outside and is an aggressive rebounder as you can tell by his numbers. Jon Brockman is going to have his hands full playing against him tonight.

Guard Dwight Lewis leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game. Lewis is an explosive scorer with a good mid-range game and the ability to defend on the perimeter. Recently he has been coming in off the bench.

Daniel Hackett runs the point for the Trojans and had a season high of 13 assists against Oklahoma. Hackett is a good point man and is deadly from the free throw line.

Freshman swing man Demar DeRozen has averaged 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the last eight games. DeRozan has reached double figures in scoring in 12 straight games, tied for the longest current streak in the Pac-10. DeRozan was named a 2007-08 McDonald's All-American.

Game notes:

Brandon Roy will be getting his number retired tonight. He is only the second Husky ever to receive that honor.

Marv Harshman commented that a couple of his players were more than deserving. Detlef Schremp, James Edwards, and Steve Hawes are some names that come to mind.

Daniel hit one free throw with 1.2 seconds left and missed the second intentionally to give USC a come-from-behind 65-64 win vs. Arizona in their last game.

USC is only 1-2 in road games this season.

Taj Gibson has 204 career blocks, just the fourth Pac-10 player to achieve at least 200 career blocks,

Don't forget free throws being a factor. Washington has been terrible from the line this season and the Trojans are shooting .676 from the line this season.