Wilcox hopes to elude USC’s Fontan

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comMarch 6, 2013 

SEATTLE — Remember Stanford’s Jeremy Green?

No? Here’s a refresher: Green was a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who played for the Cardinal from 2008-11. He had good lift when shooting his jump shot, which was about all he did.

Despite the one dimension, Green was adept enough at it to be an all-Pacific-10 Conference selection his junior season when he averaged 16.7 points per game.

Green skipped his senior season to enter the NBA draft (he went undrafted). While he was at Stanford, Washington’s answer for him was, naturally, 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas’ strength, grit and zip allowed him to navigate the multitude of screens Stanford set for Green.

By being able to stick with Green, who had at least seven inches on him, Thomas could deny him the ball or be up into and under him for jump shots. Green was often forced to catch the ball so far from the basket, he had to dribble, much to his detriment, to get into position.

“He was a potential problem because he could go off,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “And did, many times.”

USC used a similar tactic against Washington’s C.J. Wilcox the first time the teams played this year.

The Trojans put 6-foot Jio Fontan on Wilcox to guard him. Fontan essentially started chasing Wilcox when the 6-5 shooter left the hotel.

It worked. Wilcox had a season-low in shot attempts (seven) despite Fontan getting into foul trouble in USC’s 71-60 win at the Galen Center on Feb. 10.

“There’s no doubt Fontan is a big key to their success,” Romar said.

However, there’s a hitch for the Trojans’ senior point guard.

Fontan sprained his right wrist before fouling out Saturday in the Trojans’ 57-56 victory over Arizona State. USC interim coach Bob Cantu said Tuesday that X-rays of Fontan’s wrist and hand were negative, though it’s “a really bad sprain.”

Fontan practiced Monday with his hand taped. He was also limited in Tuesday’s practice, but Cantu is hopeful he will be available tonight against the Huskies.

While Fontan deals with an injury, Wilcox is feeling better. He practiced for consecutive days last week prior to the Washington State game, which he said helped his rhythm. Wilcox participated in most of practice during the two days prior to the USC game.

“I think it helped a little bit,” Romar said. “He didn’t have to get out there at game time and decide how he felt. He had an idea how he felt in practice a couple days prior to that.”

Wilcox and Washington will be trying to fend off a Trojans sweep to start the final week of regular-season play. The Huskies have been swept by Arizona and Oregon already this season. The last time they were swept by three schools in conference play was 2003, Romar’s first season, when five teams swept them.

HUSKIES GAMEDAY

USC (14-15, 9-7 PACIFIC-12 CONFERENCE) at Washington (16-13, 8-8)

8:30 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle

TV: Pac-12 Network. Radio: 950-AM, 102.9-FM.

All-time series: USC leads, 69-68.

Probable starters

USC

PlayerPosPPGRPGAPGFG%FT%

Jio FontanPG9.61.75.134.074.5

J.T. TerrellG11.21.90.9 36.373.3

Byron WesleyG10.64.42.046.172.9

Eric WiseF12.35.81.846.967.4

Dewayne DedmonF6.47.00.6 47.571.1

Washington

PlayerPosPPGRPGAPGFG%FT%

Abdul GaddyPG11.23.14.344.965.5

C.J. WilcoxG17.34.41.942.979.2

Scott SuggsF11.72.21.440.687.3

Shawn Kemp Jr.F5.92.80.1 49.563.9

Aziz N’DiayeC9.69.20.3 59.742.6

Scouting report: The Trojans are hot. Since Bob Cantu took over as interim coach, USC has won six of eight, including a 71-60 win over Washington on Feb. 10. The Huskies are playing better, having won three of four. Washington trailed by 19 points in the first half of the first meeting and never got closer than six points in the second half. When the Huskies went to a 2-3 zone defense, they started to get back into the game. The Trojans will try to run more today in order to avoid that set-up zone.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com

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