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Key matchup: San Diego's Wayne McKinney could be factor after missing first Gonzaga meeting

Jan. 19—SAN DIEGO — Wayne McKinney is accustomed to doing a number of things for San Diego's basketball team — most of which go uncharted in a traditional box score.

Five USD teammates posted higher scoring and rebounding totals than the junior guard last season, but McKinney was the clubhouse leader in "hustle plays," which can be accrued with effort-based statistics like steals, blocks and charges taken.

Dressed in a black sweatsuit, McKinney's role was reduced to bench coach when San Diego visited Gonzaga two weeks ago.

The Toreros erred on the side of caution, choosing to rest their veteran guard after McKinney suffered a leg injury two days earlier in a loss to Saint Mary's.

USD isn't done dealing with roster attrition — top scorer Deuce Turner missed the team's last game against Pepperdine — but McKinney, who's averaged 33.5 minutes, will at least get a crack at the Zags after observing a 101-74 loss at the Kennel from the visiting bench.

Second-year coach Steve Lavin is still counting on McKinney to do the little things, but if the Toreros hope to rebound from a four-game skid in West Coast Conference play and make a run before the conference tournament, it'll probably require the Coronado, California, native to pace them in a few major categories.

McKinney's been up to the task. The junior is the only USD player averaging more than 30 minutes per game (30.6) and he's one of just two Toreros who's started in more than 14 of the team's 19 games.

McKinney, who grew up in Los Angeles and spent time in the Portland area before moving to the San Diego suburb of Coronado, is the Toreros' second-leading scorer at 14.6 points per game — up from 7.4 last season — and leads USD in assists (2.7) and steals (1.7).

The Toreros have deployed 10 starting lineups this season, making it hard to guess who'll play alongside McKinney on Saturday and therefore, who'll be Gonzaga's best defensive option on the third-year player.

On paper, 6-foot, 175-pound GU point guard Ryan Nembhard seems to be the top candidate to combat the 6-foot, 190-pound McKinney, especially because the Toreros will likely put four bigger players around their junior guard.

Nolan Hickman and Dusty Stromer teamed up to guard Turner in GU's 27-point win two weeks ago.