USC Faces California In Final Home Game Of The Season Saturday
Feb. 23, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (20-8, 10-5) will face California (14-13, 6-9) on Feb. 24 at 5:00 p.m. at the Galen Center in the final home game of the season. The Trojans' 10-5 record in conference is their best since starting the 2002 Pac-10 slate 11-4 and ending 12-6.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA -- California is coming off an 85-75 loss at UCLA on Feb. 22. The Bears are led in scoring by Ryan Anderson who is averaging 16.6 points per game. USC defeated California 76-73 on Jan. 27 in Berkeley, Calif., snapping a three-game losing streak to the Bears. In that game, Lodrick Stewart led the Trojans with 21 points, making five of seven three-point attempts. USC is 6-14 in its last 20 games against California.
TROJANS DEFEAT STANFORD -- USC defeated Stanford 69-65 on Thursday to take over sole possession of third place in the Pac-10, one game behind Washington State which is in second place. Nick Young led USC with 22 points and Lodrick Stewart chipped in with 17. Gabe Pruitt scored 16 and tied a career high with eight assists. USC held Stanford to 40.7 percent shooting, but was outrebounded 42-27.
WASHINGTON ON DECK -- The Trojans next game will be at Washington (16-11, 6-9) on March 1 at 7:00 p.m. USC defeated the Huskies 86-79 in double-overtime on Dec. 28 at the Galen Center to snap a five-game losing streak to Washington. Spencer Hawes leads four Huskies in double figures in scoring with a 15.2 average. USC has won four of its last seven games played at Bank of American Arena.
TAKING A DEFENSIVE STAND -- USC has held 17 of 28 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting and 22 of 28 to a 42 percent or less shooting percentage. Only California (51.9 percent on Jan. 27) and Arizona (50 percent on Feb. 15) have hit at least 50 percent of their shots against USC's defense. USC has held the opposition under 40 percent shooting in 27 of the 58 games Tim Floyd has been the head coach (46.6 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 37.7 shooting percentage, fifth best in the country (through games of Feb. 22).
RISING UP THROUGH THE RANKS -- With the win at then No. 19 Arizona on Feb. 15, USC improved to 6-3 vs. ranked opponents this season. The six wins USC has against Top 25 teams are the most in a season since also beating six ranked teams during the 2002 season.
ROUGH ROAD AHEAD -- USC will finish the season on the road at Washington and Washington State. Washington is 15-2 at home this season and Washington State is 12-1 in its home arena. USC is 4-4 in road games this season.
ANOTHER FRESHMAN SCHOOL RECORD FOR GIBSON -- Freshman Taj Gibson had eight rebounds on Feb. 22 to give him 234 this season, a new USC freshman single-season record. The previous record for most rebounds in a season by a Trojan freshman was 231 by Cliff Robinson in 1978. Gibson has registered eight or more rebounds in 19 of 28 games.
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 280-151 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 37-21. 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 37-21 record in his first 58 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 one USC coache in his 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 20-8 37-21 .638
MAKING THEIR SHOTS COUNT -- USC is shooting .480 from the field this season (711-for-1481). 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 seventh best in school history. USC has outshot the opponent in terms of percentage in 25 of the 28 games (not vs. South Carolina, at Stanford and at ASU). USC has also shot better than 50 percent in a game 11 times, while allowing the opposition to shoot 50 percent or better just twice.
WASHINGTON TIME CHANGES -- The start time for the game on Mar. 1 at Washington has been set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast tape delayed on FSN Prime Ticket at 9:30 p.m. The game time for the March 3 game at Washington State has been changed to 4 p.m. and will be carried in L.A. on FSN Prime Ticket.
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 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 (1st with 234), free throws attempted (3rd with 115), free throws made (3rd with 70), points (7th with 326), blocks (1st with 52) and field goal percentage (3rd with .571). Also, his 8.4 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 80 free throws this season for a 82.5 percentage, sixth best among Pac-10 players.
THE SECOND CENTURY OF HOOPS AT USC -- The Trojans are beginning their second century of intercollegiate basketball and have a 1,412-1,012 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 14-3 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). The last time USC won as many home games in a season was in 1992 when they went 14-1 at home. The last time USC won more than 14 home games was in 1961 when they went 16-3 at home.
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.
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 15 games since then and shined. He scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out a game-high six assists and had a steal in his first start on Dec. 28 vs. Washington. In his 15 starts, he has averaged 13.2 points (198 total), 4.2 assists (63 total), 1.6 steals (24 total) and 2.9 rebounds (44 total). In USC's last two games, Pruitt has combined to score 38 points, grab 12 rebounds, dish out 13 assists and make four steals.
RISING UP THE BLOCK EXCHANGE -- 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 115 blocks this season ranks 8th in school history. The 115 total blocks is third among Pac-10 teams. Taj Gibson leads the Trojans and is second among Pac-10 players with 52 blocks, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye has 15 and sophomore RouSean Cromwell has 14. 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 28 games, but none since Jan. 4 at Oregon. 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 28 games and has scored at least eight points in 24 of 28 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 1,356 career points, ranking him 11th 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 61-for-137 from beyond the arc on the season (.445) and has a career three-point shooting percentage of .399 (216-for-542).
THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC was outrebounded in the win vs. Stanford on Feb. 22 42-27, but has outrebounded 12 of its 28 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 13.2 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 16-4 this season. USC is 4-4 this season when taking more than 15 three-point shots in a game and lost at Arizona State on Feb. 18 when it took a season-high 21 threes.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC has held its opponents to 29.7 percent shooting from three-point range this season (177-for-596), best among Pac-10 teams.
FORTIFIED BY FRESHMEN -- The Trojan freshman are playing a big role for USC and have combined to start 52 times. First-year player Taj Gibson is the only Trojan to start all 28 games this season. Gibson leads the team in rebounding (8.4) and is fourth in scoring (11.6). The Trojans have six freshmen on the squad (one redshirting) and they have combined to score 35.3 percent of USC's points and have played 41.9 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 70.5 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. USC is just 37-for-57 in the last 4 games.
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 1,325 career points to rank 13th on USC's all-time list, 16 points behind Lorenzo Orr. He has reached double figures in points in his last 16 games and in 25 of 28 games this season. In the last 10 games, Young has averaged 19.1 points (191 total).
TURNING AROUND THE TURNOVERS -- USC has had more assists than turnovers in seven of the last 16 games after accomplishing that feat once in the first 12 games. In the last 16 games, USC has 195 assists and 184 turnovers, but the total for the season is 352 assists and 432 turnovers. USC has averaged 11.5 turnovers per game in the last 16, after averaging 19.8 in the first 12 games.
FACING THE BEST -- The USC 2007 schedule will see the Trojans play seven games against current NCAA RPI Top 25 teams and 11 against Top 38 teams. Also, through NCAA RPI ranking on Feb. 19, USC will play 20 of their 31 regular season games against teams ranked in the top 92 of 336 schools. Prior to the ASU game, USC had played eight ranked opponents in the previous 14 games and had gone 10-4 in that stretch, 6-2 against the ranked teams.
TROY'S TERRIFIC TRIO -- The Trojan trio of Nick Young, Lodrick Stewart and Gabe Pruitt combined for 69 points in the win at Arizona on Feb. 15. It was the fourth time in their careers that the trio combined for over 60 points in a game. They combined to score 64 vs. Arizona on Jan. 18, 2007, 63 vs. Arizona on Feb. 2, 2006 and 60 at Oregon on Jan. 28, 2006. The trio has each reached double figures in scoring in seven consecutive games, combining to score 351 points and average 50.1 points in those games.
RARIFIED AIR FOR USC -- The Trojans have 20 wins, just the fourth time they have reached the 20-win plateau in the last 28 seasons (1992-24, 2001-24, 2002-22 and 2007-20). USC has achieved 20 wins in a season 15 times in school history.
SHARP-SHOOTING STEWART -- Senior guard Lodrick Stewart is fourth among conference players with a .445 shooting percentage from three-point range. He has been especially hot of late, hitting at a .508 clip (32-for-63) over USC's last 13 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 11.6, leads all freshmen with 8.4 rebounds per game (4th among all Pac-10 players), leads all freshmen in field goal percentage at .571 (tops among conference players) and is second in blocks by freshmen (2nd overall).
Points Rebounds FG Pct. BlocksAnderson (CAL) 16.6 Gibson (USC) 8.4 Gibson (USC) .578 R. Lopez (STAN) 63Budinger (UA) 15.8 Anderson (CAL) 8.0 Hawes (UW) .548 Gibson (USC) 52Hawes (UW) 15.2 R. Lopez (STAN) 6.1 Hawes (UW) 46Porter (ORE) 13.8 Hawes (UW) 5.9 B. Lopez (STAN) 42Polk (ASU) 12.5 Budinger (UA) 5.8 Hill (ARIZ) 23Gibson (USC) 11.6 B.Lopez (STAN) 5.7
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. He has upped his record to 52.
TROJANS NO STRANGER TO TIGHT CONTESTS -- USC is 6-3 in games decided by five points or less following the 69-65 win vs. Stanford on Feb. 22. The Trojans are also 5-2 in games decided by 6-10 points and have won 11 games decided by 10 points or less (11-5), tied for most among Pac-10 teams. Oregon is 11-4 in the close games with two of the losses coming at the hands of USC (2 points and 3 points).
A DEFENSIVE PERSPECTIVE -- Everyone knows by now that USC is holding opponents to a .377 field goal percentage, fifth 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 .377 percentage is fifth best in USC history.
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 978 points and is just 22 points away from becoming the 32nd Trojan in history and third this season to reach 1,000 career points.
PRUITT IS MAN OF STEAL -- Gabe Pruitt also has 25 steals this season and 136 in his career to rank 6th on USC's all-time steals list. His three at ASU on Feb. 18 moved him past Sam Clancy. Fifth on the Trojan thefts list is Derrick Dowell with 179.
N'DIAYE SWATS WAY TO TOP 10 -- With a block at Arizona on Feb. 15 at Arizona, Abdoulaye N'diaye now has 62 career blocks as a Trojan, 10th best in school history.