No. 22 USC To Face No. 19 Arizona On Thursday
Feb. 12, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 22 USC men's basketball team (18-7, 8-4) will travel to No. 19 Arizona (17-7, 8-5) on Feb. 15 at 8:30 p.m. MST at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. USC is 13-5 in its last 18 games. The Trojans' 8-4 conference record is their best start since also beginning the 2002 Pac-10 conference slate at 8-4. The Trojans are in third-place in the highly-contested Pac-10, one loss behind Washington State and two behind UCLA.
SCOUTING ARIZONA -- Arizona has won three straight and is coming off a road sweep at the Oregon schools. USC defeated the Wildcats 80-73 on Jan. 18 at the Galen Center behind a season-high 30 points from Nick Young. Marcus Williams leads five Arizona players in double figures with an average of 17.0 points per game. USC has lost 21 consecutive games at McKale Center since a 64-63 win on Jan. 17, 1985. USC has won the last two games against Arizona and has not won three consecutive games against the Wildcats since sweeping the 1983 season series and winning the first game in 1984. That was actually the end of a seven-game winning streak against Arizona (1981-1984).
BEATEN BY THE BRUINS -- USC lost its last game 70-65 at then-No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 7 in Westwood, Calif. The Trojans led or were tied for most of the game and didn't trail until the 5:50 mark of the second half. The Trojans retook the lead by two points at the 4:50 mark, but a five-point play, aided by a technical foul on Lodrick Stewart, put UCLA up for good at the 4:25 mark. UCLA finished off the game at the line where it was 18 of 20 in the second half.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- The Trojans next game will be at Arizona State (6-18, 0-13) on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. MST. USC defeated the Sun Devils 58-49 on Jan. 20 at the Galen Center and has won five of its last six against Arizona State. The Sun Devils are led in scoring by Christian Polk, who is averaging 12.8 points per game. Despite the 0-13 record in conference, ASU has lost six of the games by five points or less, including the last four.
TAKING A DEFENSIVE STAND -- California became the only team to shoot better than 50 percent from the field against the Trojans this season when it made 51.9 percent of its shots on Jan. 27. Still, USC has held 20 of 25 opponents to 41.4 percent or less from the floor and 17 of 25 under 40 percent shooting. USC has held the opposition under 40 percent shooting in 27 of the 55 games Tim Floyd has been the head coach (49.1 percent), whereas in the previous two seasons, they accomplished the feat 8 times in 57 games (14 percent). USC has held the opposition to a 36.9 shooting percentage, third best in the country.
RISING UP THROUGH THE RANKS -- With the loss at then No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 7, USC dropped to 5-3 vs. ranked opponents this season. The five wins USC has against Top 25 teams are the most in a season since beating six ranked opponents during the 2002 season. Five of USC's seven games from Dec. 23-Jan. 18 were against ranked opponents and the Trojans went 4-1 in those games.
ROUGH ROAD AHEAD -- Four of USC's final six games are on the road. USC is 3-3 in road games this season, but will be playing at Arizona (11-3), Arizona State (6-9), Washington (15-1) and Washington State (12-1) who have imposing home records.
IN TIM WE TRUST -- The arrival of head coach Tim Floyd brought great excitement to the USC campus and with good reason. Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 18 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 278-150 record in his 14 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-06). His record at USC is 35-20. Eight of his first 13 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (5 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 10 players in his 13 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
FLOYD OFF TO GREAT START -- USC head coach Tim Floyd has a 35-20 record in his first 55 games at the helm for the Trojans. To date, he has guided USC to more victories in his first two seasons as a head coach than all but two USC coaches in their first two seasons:
1st yr. 2nd yr. Total Pct. Leo Calland (1928-29) 22-4 16-6 38-10 .792 Forrest Twogood (1951-52) 21-6 16-14 37-20 .649 Tim Floyd (2006-07) 17-13 18-7 35-20 .636
MAKING THEIR SHOTS COUNT -- USC is shooting .484 from the field this season (634-for-1310). The last time USC finished a season with a higher shooting percentage was in 1985 when it had a .487 shooting percentage and the 2007 team's percentage currently is fifth best in school history. USC has outshot the opponent in terms of percentage in 23 of the 25 games (not vs. South Carolina and at Stanford). USC has also shot better than 50 percent in a game 10 times, while allowing the opposition to shoot 50 percent or better just once (at California).
HOLDING THEM DOWN WITH 'D' -- USC has held 11 opponents to under 60 points this season. It is the most games in a season that the Trojans have held the opposition to 59 points or less since accomplishing the feat 13 times in 1987.
HOW GOOD HAS GIBSON BEEN? -- On Jan. 4 at Oregon freshman Taj Gibson picked up his eighth double-double of the season (2nd most in the Pac-10) with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. Already, he has cracked the all-time USC freshman season top 10s in rebounds (3rd with 213), free throws attempted (3rd with 109), free throws made (3rd with 66), points (9th with 316) and blocks (1st with 50). He also is on a pace to set the school freshman field goal percentage record (.610) and his 8.5 rebounds per game average is second best all-time as a freshman at USC to Cliff Robinson's 9.6 in 1978.
HACKETT MONEY FROM THE LINE -- Freshman Daniel Hackett has hit 66 of 78 free throws this season for a 84.6 percentage, third best in the Pac-10.
THE SECOND CENTURY OF HOOPS AT USC -- The Trojans are beginning their second century of intercollegiate basketball and have a 1,410-1,011 record. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 71 of the first 100 seasons.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME -- USC's loss to Washington State on Dec. 30 snapped a nine-game home winning streak, following the season-opening overtime loss to South Carolina on Nov. 16. The last time USC won more consecutive home games in a season was during the 2000-01 campaign when it won the first 10. USC is 13-3 at the Galen Center this season with the losses being an overtime loss (South Carolina) and two games in which the Trojans led with five seconds left in the game (Washington State and UCLA).
PAC-10 PRESEASON RANKINGS -- The Trojans were picked to finish in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference this season, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. UCLA was picked to win the conference with 335 votes, followed by Arizona (280), Washington (236), Oregon (193), California (177), USC (160), Stanford (127), Oregon State (75), Arizona State (69) and Washington State (54). Last season, USC was a preseason No. 8 pick and they finished sixth.
INJURY UPDATES -- Freshman forward Kasey Cunningham is recovering from left knee surgery (ACL). He is expected to redshirt this season.
PRUITT BACK ON TRACK -- All-Pac-10 guard Gabe Pruitt played in his first game on Dec. 22 following a semester of academic ineligibility, but was a combined 0-6 from the field with two points in his first two games. He has started the 12 games since then and shined. He scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out a game-high six assists and had a steal on Dec. 28 vs. Washington. In his 12 starts, he has averaged 11.9 points (143 total), 3.9 assists (47 total), 1.3 steals (16 total) and 2.1 rebounds (25 total).
BLOCK PARTY LEADS TO TOP 10 -- USC had eight blocks in the 71-68 win vs. Oregon on Feb. 3, including three staight in a 28 second stretch after the Trojans had taken a 63-60 lead. USC had a season-high nine blocks in the game on Jan. 4 at Oregon. USC's total of 104 blocks this season ranks 10th in school history. The 104 total blocks is third among Pac-10 teams. Taj Gibson leads the Trojans and is second among Pac-10 players with 50 blocks, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye has 14 and sophomore RouSean Cromwell has 12. Gibson had seven blocks on Jan. 4 at Oregon, tying him for the fourth best single-game total by a Trojan.
GIBSON MAKING SUDDEN IMPACT -- Trojan freshman forward Taj Gibson had 18 rebounds on Nov. 24 vs. Long Beach State, the most by a Trojan since Jeff McMillan also had 18 rebounds on Feb. 25, 2004 vs. UCLA and the third most by a Pac-10 player this season. The last Trojan with more rebounds in a game was David Bluthenthal who tied the school record with 28 on Jan. 20, 2000 vs. Arizona State. Bluthenthal tied Cliff Robinson's school and freshman record of 28 rebounds set on Jan. 20, 1978 vs. Portland State. Gibson has eight double-doubles (points-rebounds) in his first 25 games. He scored in double figures in his first five games, the first USC freshman to score in double digits in his first five collegiate games since Tom Lewis during the 1985-86 season (first nine games). He has reached double figures in scoring in 19 of 25 games.
THAT'S A LOD OF POINTS -- Senior Lodrick Stewart reached the 1,000 points scored mark on Nov. 24 against Long Beach when he made a layup 2 minutes into the second half. He finished that night with 16 points. He currently has 1,295 career points, ranking him 14th all-time on USC's scoring list and second among active career scorers in the Pac-10. He poured in a career-high 28 on Jan. 6 at OSU.
STEWART SETS SCHOOL RECORD -- Lodrick Stewart made all six three-point shots he attempted on Jan. 6 at Oregon State, the most three-pointers made in a single game by a Trojan with out a miss. The previous best by a USC player had been five by Brad Winslow (1987) and Errick Craven (2002). The six shots made from beyond the arc tied his career best set on Dec. 2 this season vs. LMU. He is 55-for-124 from beyond the arc on the season (.444) and has a career three-point shooting percentage of .397 (210-for-529).
THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC was outrebounded 33-24 by UCLA on Feb. 7, but has outrebounded 11 of its 25 opponents. Last season USC outrebounded the opposition in just eight of 30 games. The Trojans had 47 rebounds in the opener (most since getting 50 in the 2005-06 opener) and 40 in their second game, the first time USC had recorded back-to-back games of 40 or more rebounds since Dec. 3 and Dec. 6, 2003. The 58 rebounds USC collected on Nov. 24 vs. LBSU were its most in a game since also grabbing 58 boards on Feb. 27, 1997 vs. Oregon.
SOMETIMES TWO CAN BE BETTER THAN THREE -- USC averaged 19 three-pointers per game last season and took a conference-high 20.4 per Pac-10 game in 2005-06. USC is averaging just 12.8 three-point shots per game this season, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Last season when USC took 15 or less shots from behind the arc, they were 8-1 and are 15-4 this season. USC is 3-3 this season when taking more than 15 three-point shots in a game. In Pac-10 games, USC is tops hitting a sizzling 43.3 percent of its threes.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC has held its opponents to 29.3 percent shooting from three-point range this season (158-for-540), best among Pac-10 teams and 10th best in the country (through games of Feb. 11).
FORTIFIED BY FRESHMEN -- The Trojan freshman are playing a big role for USC. First-year players Taj Gibson (25), Daniel Hackett (13), Dwight Lewis (9) and Kevin Galloway (1) have all started this season. Gibson leads the team in rebounding (8.5) and is third in scoring (12.6). The Trojans have six freshmen on the squad (one redshirting) and they have combined to score 38.0 percent of USC's points and have played 43.0 percent of the team's minutes.
N0THING FOUL ABOUT THIS SHOOTING -- The Trojans hit 33 of 38 foul shots (86.8 percent) on Dec. 9 vs. George Washington. It was the team's best percentage in a game since making 87.0 percent vs. Washington on March 6, 2003 and the most made free throws in a game since also making 33 on Jan. 20, 2000 vs. Arizona State. USC has made 71.0 percent of its free throws this season. USC has shot better than 70 percent from the free throw line just one season (2001) in the last 20 years.
HOW RARE WAS THAT COMEBACK? -- USC's comeback from a 20-point deficit in the second half (38-18) to win 74-65 vs. George Washington at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Dec. 9 was the biggest since also staging a 20-point second-half comeback vs. BYU (down 23-43) on Dec. 23, 2000 to win 70-67. It was just the third time in the last 15 seasons that USC came back from a 20-point deficit to win, the other being Dec. 7, 1996 at UNC Charlotte.
YOUNG SHOOTING UP THE CHARTS -- Junior swingman Nick Young's tip-in one minute into the game on Dec. 19 vs. Longwood was his 1,000th career point, the 31st Trojan to reach the 1,000 career points scored plateau. Young joined teammate Lodrick Stewart who eclipsed the 1,000 career points total on Nov. 24 vs. Long Beach State. He now has scored 1,266 career points to rank 15th on USC's all-time list, 29 points behind Lodrick Stewart. He has reached double figures in points in his last 13 games and in 22 of 25 games this season.
TURNING AROUND THE TURNOVERS -- USC has had more assists than turnovers in six of the last 13 games after accomplishing that feat once in the first 12 games. In the last 13 games, USC has 160 assists and 149 turnovers, but the total for the season is 317 assists and 397 turnovers. USC has averaged 11.5 turnovers per game in the last 13, after averaging 19.8 in the first 12 games.
YOUNG'S SECOND HALF SURGES -- Perhaps the hottest Trojan in the second half of games in Nick Young who has scored 232 of his 427 points this season after halftime and had averaged 9.3 points in the second halves of games. Young has scored in double figures in the second half of games 12 times this season.
SHARP-SHOOTING STEWART -- Senior guard Lodrick Stewart is fourth among conference players with a .444 shooting percentage from three-point range. He has been especially hot of late, hitting at a .520 clip (26-for-50) over USC's last 10 games.
HOW DOES GIBSON STACK UP AMONG THE OTHER PAC-10 FRESHMAN YOU ASK...? -- The Pac-10 has been getting recognition for all the quality freshmen coming into the league this season and their efforts can be seen up and down the conference leaders charts. Trojan Taj Gibson is sixth among Pac-10 freshman in points per game with 12.6, leads all freshmen with 8.5 rebounds per game (4th among all Pac-10 players), leads all freshmen in field goal percentage at .610 (tops among conference players) and is second in blocks by freshmen (2nd overall).
Points Rebounds FG Pct. BlocksAnderson (CAL) 16.8 Gibson (USC) 8.5 Gibson (USC) .610 R. Lopez (STAN) 59Budinger (UA) 15.8 Anderson (CAL) 8.4 Hawes (UW) .550 Gibson (USC) 50Hawes (UW) 14.8 R. Lopez (STAN) 6.3 Hawes (UW) 39Porter (ORE) 13.3 Budinger (UA) 6.0 B. Lopez (STAN) 37Polk (ASU) 12.8 Hawes (UW) 5.8 Hill (ARIZ) 22Gibson (USC) 12.6 B.Lopez (STAN) 5.3
TURNING THE DIAL -- The USC game on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Arizona State at 6 p.m. will be broadcast on Radio Disney 1110 AM and not the usual ESPN Radio AM 710 due to network obligations to carry the NBA All-Star game. The game will be televised on Prime TIcket.
GAME VS. THE CARDINAL PICKED UP -- The USC game vs. Stanford on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. has been selected for broadcast by FSN West.
GIBSON AND FLOYD GET ACCOLADES -- Taj Gibson was selected as the Player of the Week (Jan. 1-7) by ESPN.com and TheSportingNews.com. He scored 18 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked seven shots in an 84-82 win at previously unbeaten Oregon, then scored 20 points in the 91-46 win at Oregon State. Head coach Tim Floyd was named Coach of the Week on Dick Vitale's website.
YOUNG NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Junior swingman Nick Young was named U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for Jan. 15-21, as he led USC to a sweep of the Arizona schools. Young averaged 24 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two games, including scoring 30 points in the 80-73 win over then No. 11 Arizona on Jan. 18.
GIBSON SET THE SCHOOL FRESHMAN BLOCKS RECORD - Lost among the many blocks at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 25 was that USC freshman Taj Gibson swatted three more shots to bring his season total at the time to 44 blocks, the most ever by a USC freshman. The previous school record for blocks by a freshman was 43 by Ken Johnson in 1982.
TROJANS NO STRANGER TO TIGHT CONTESTS -- USC is 4-3 in games decided by five points or less following the 70-65 loss at UCLA on Feb. 7. The Trojans are also 5-2 in games decided by 6-10 points and have won nine games decided by 10 points or less (9-5), second most among Pac-10 teams. Oregon is 10-3 in the close games with two of the losses coming at the hands of USC (2 points and 3 points).
A LOOK AT THE USC SCHEDULE -- USC has faced 22 opponents this season and 15 of those teams are playing .500 or better ball as of Jan. 11 and own a composite record of 303-234. If you add in the records again for the teams the Trojans have played twice so far this season, that mark improves to 354-258 (.578). According to the NCAA RPI report published on Feb. 12, nine of USC's first 25 games were against opponents ranked in the RPI Top 50 and 15 games were against RPI Top 93 opponents (there are 326 RPI teams). USC is currently ranked in the NCAA RPI ratings at No. 46, as four of the 25 games they played early on were against teams that rate in the RPI bottom 50. Five of the Trojans' final six games will be against teams with an RPI ranking of 75 or better.
A DEFENSIVE PERSPECTIVE -- Everyone knows by now that USC is holding opponents to a .369 field goal percentage, third best in the country. What you might not know is that the last time USC finished the season with a better field goal defense percentage was in 1960 when that held opponents to a .354 shooting percentage. The 2007 team's .369 percentage is tied for third best in USC history with the 1959 team.
PRUITT EYES 1,000 POINT CLUB -- Junior guard Gabe Pruitt is on pace to join teammates senior Lodrick Stewart and junior Nick Young in the 1,000 career points scored club. Pruitt has 923 points and is just 77 points away from becoming the 32nd Trojan in history and third this season to reach 1,000 career points.