USC To Face Stanford In Pac-10 Tournament Quarterfinals Thursday
March 5, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (21-10, 11-7) will face Stanford (18-11, 10-8) on March 8 at 6:20 p.m. at Staples Center in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament. USC tied for third in the conference with Oregon and Arizona, but by virtue of sweeping both schools won the tiebreaker to be the tournament's No. 3 seed. USC's 21 victories are its most since winning 22 in 2002 (22-10).
TROJANS AT THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT -- USC is 6-8 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games. Last season as the sixth seed, USC lost to the third seed California 82-67. The Trojans' No. 3 seed is their best ever, topping the team's No. 4 seed in 2002. USC has a three-game losing streak at the Pac-10 Tournament, losing in the finals to Oregon in 2003 and in the first round to Arizona in 2004 and the first round to California in 2006. USC reached the finals in 2002 (Arizona) and 2003 (Oregon), but lost both times.
SCOUTING STANFORD -- Stanford is coming of a regular season-ending overtime loss at home to Arizona by a score of 85-80 and has lost three of its last four, including a 69-65 setback at the Galen Center on Feb. 22. Stanford defeated USC the first time the two teams played on Jan. 25 in Palo Alto 65-50, blocking 19 Trojan shots. The Cardinal is led in scoring by Lawrence Hill who is averaging 16.3 points per game. Anthony Goods, Stanford's second-leading scorer with a 13.0 average, missed the last six regular season games with a high ankle sprain.
USC vs. STANFORD IN THE PAC-10 TOURNEY -- The Trojans have a 2-1 record vs. the Cardinal in the Pac-10 Tournament, losing 66-61 in 1989 and winning 103-78 in 2002 and 79-74 in 2003. The 103 points that USC scored vs. Stanford in the 2002 tournament is a Pac-10 Tournament record.
TROJANS LOSE BATTLE FOR SECOND PLACE AT WSU -- USC lost a thrilling double-overtime game at Washington State on March 3, 88-86, and had to settle for a third-place tie in the conference instead of a second-place tie in the regular season with the Cougars and a No. 2 seed by virtue of tiebreakers. Lodrick Stewart led USC with 22 points and sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer with five second left. He also sent the game into double-overtime by making two of three free throws with 2.1 seconds left in the first overtime. Gabe Pruitt scored 11 of his 19 points in the second overtime, but couldn't help USC pull out the victory in Pullman, Wash. Nick Young had 19 points also, but fouled out near the end of regulation.
TAKING A DEFENSIVE STAND -- USC has held 17 of 31 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting and 23 of 31 to a 42 percent or less shooting percentage. Only California (51.9 percent on Jan. 27), Arizona (50 percent on Feb. 15) and Washington (52.0 percent on March 1) 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 61 games Tim Floyd has been the head coach (44.3 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 38.6 shooting percentage, seventh best in the country (through games of March 4).
RISING UP THROUGH THE RANKS -- With the win at then No. 19 Arizona on Feb. 15, USC picked up its sixth win against Top 25 teams and is 6-4 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.
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 281-153 record in his 14 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2006-07). His record at USC is 38-23. 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 38-23 record in his first 61 games at the helm for the Trojans. His victory total ties Leo Calland (1928-29) for the most by a USC head coach in his first two seasons.
1st yr. 2nd yr. Total Pct. Leo Calland (1928-29) 22-4 16-6 38-10 .792 Tim Floyd (2006-07) 17-13 21-10 38-23 .623 Forrest Twogood (1951-52) 21-6 16-14 37-20 .649
MAKING THEIR SHOTS COUNT -- USC is shooting .483 from the field this season (801-for-1657). 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 tied for fifth best in school history. USC has outshot the opponent in terms of percentage in 27 of the 31 games (not vs. South Carolina, at Stanford, at ASU and at UW). USC has also shot 50 percent or better in a game 14 times, while allowing its opponent to shoot 50 percent or better just three times.
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.
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 21 of 31 games and now has 258 this season.
HOW GOOD HAS GIBSON BEEN? -- On Jan. 4 at Oregon Taj Gibson picked up his eighth double-double of the season (tied for 2nd most in the Pac-10) with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. He has cracked the all-time USC freshman season top 10s in rebounds (1st with 258), free throws attempted (2nd with 131), free throws made (3rd with 79), points (5th with 365), blocks (1st with 56) and field goal percentage (3rd with .579). Also, his 8.3 rebounds per game average is second best all-time as a freshman at USC to Cliff Robinson's 9.6 in 1978.
STEWART SHOOTS DOWN SCHOOL RECORD -- Senior Lodrick Stewart made four three-pointers on Feb. 24 vs. Cal to give him 220 in his career, breaking the USC career three-point baskets made record of 218 which had been held by Brandon Granville (1999-02). Stewart now has made 68 of 152 three-point shots this season for a .447 percentage. The 68 makes are tied for the seventh most in a season by a Trojan (he made 70 in 2005, the sixth most).
THE SECOND CENTURY OF HOOPS AT USC -- The Trojans are beginning their second century of intercollegiate basketball and have a 1,413-1,014 record. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 71 of the first 100 seasons.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME -- USC won its last six home games and finished 15-3 the first season at the Galen Center. The last time USC won more home games in a season was in 1961 when they went 16-3 at 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's home losses this season were 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 18 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 18 starts, he has averaged 13.3 points (239 total), 4.2 assists (76 total), 1.8 steals (32 total) and 2.8 rebounds (50 total). In USC's last five games, Pruitt has combined to score 79 points, grab 18 rebounds, dish out 26 assists and make 12 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 126 blocks this season are the fifth most in school history. The 126 total blocks is third among Pac-10 teams. Taj Gibson leads the Trojans and is second among Pac-10 players with 56 blocks, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye has 17 and sophomore RouSean Cromwell has 15. Gibson had seven blocks on Jan. 4 at Oregon, tying him for the fourth best single-game total by a Trojan.
GIBSON MADE 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 16 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 22 of 31 games and has scored at least eight points in 27 of 31 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 1,400 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 68-for-152 from beyond the arc on the season (.447) and has a career three-point shooting percentage of .400 (223-for-557).
THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC was outrebounded 37-3 by Washington State on March 3, but has outrebounded 13 of its 31 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 13.7 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 16-5 this season. USC is 5-5 this season when taking more than 15 three-point shots in a game, including making a season-high 10 and taking a season-high 22 vs. Cal.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- Despite Washington's 55.6 percent shooting from three-point range on March 1, USC has held its opponents to 30.9 percent shooting from three-point range this season (202-for-654), best among Pac-10 teams. Conversely, USC leads all Pac-10 teams with a .393 percentage from three-point range, .409 in Pac-10 games.
FORTIFIED BY FRESHMEN -- The Trojan freshman are playing a big role for USC and have combined to start 56 times. First-year player Taj Gibson is the only Trojan to start all 31 games this season. Gibson leads the team in rebounding (8.3) and is fourth in scoring (11.8). The Trojans have six freshmen on the squad (one redshirting) and they have combined to score 34.7 percent of USC's points and have played 41.3 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 70.6 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 1,383 career points to rank 12th on USC's all-time list, 17 points behind Lodrick Stewart. He has reached double figures in points in his last 19 games and in 28 of 31 games this season. In the last 13 games, Young has averaged 19.2 points (249 total).
TURNING AROUND THE TURNOVERS -- USC has had as many or more assists as turnovers in 11 of the last 19 games after accomplishing that feat once in the first 12 games. In the last 19 games, USC has 245 assists and 219 turnovers, but the total for the season is 402 assists and 467 turnovers. USC has averaged 11.5 turnovers per game in the last 19, after averaging 19.8 in the first 12 games.
BREAKING DOWN THE SCHEDULE -- USC's current NCAA RPI rating (March 5) is 54. USC had nine games against Top 28 RPI teams and 20 games against teams in the top 101 in RPI. To put that in perspective, the No. 1 NCAA RPI team UCLA had 21 games against the top 101. Eighteen of USC's 31 games were against teams that won 17 or more games. USC has played four conference leaders, including Pac-10 leader UCLA twice. Twelve of USC's games this season were against teams currently receiving AP Top 25 votes.
TROY'S TERRIFIC TRIO -- The Trojan trio of Nick Young, Lodrick Stewart and Gabe Pruitt combined for 60 points in the loss at Washington State on March 3. It was the fifth time in their careers that the trio combined for over 60 points in a game. They also combined to score 69 at Arizona on Feb. 15, 2007, 64 vs. Arizona on Jan. 18, 2007, 63 vs. Arizona on Feb. 2, 2006 and 60 at Oregon on Jan. 28, 2006. The trio had each reached double figures in scoring in seven consecutive games from Jan. 27-Feb. 22. They have combined to score 494 points and average 49.4 points in the last 10 games. Also, all three players have reached the 1,000 career points scored mark during this season. Currently, Stewart ranks 2nd, Young 4th and Pruitt 10th among Pac-10 players in career scoring.
RARIFIED AIR FOR USC -- The Trojans have 21 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 21 wins in a season 11 times in school history. The USC record for wins in a season is 24 done three times (24-2 in 1971, 24-5 in 1974 and 24-6 in 1992). USC has achieved 22 wins or more only seven times.
TROJANS FALL SHORT OF RARE FEAT -- It took until the final two regular season games, but USC lost consecutive games for the first time this season. The double-overtime defeat at Washington State kept USC from going through regular season play without back-to-back losses for the first time since the 1974 season. USC had been one of 16 NCAA teams not to lose consecutive games this season.
SHARP-SHOOTING STEWART -- Senior guard Lodrick Stewart is second among conference players with a .447 shooting percentage from three-point range, tops in Pac-10 play (.483). He has been especially hot of late, hitting at a .500 clip (39-for-78) over USC's last 16 games.
YOUNG GETS HONORS AGAIN -- For the second consecutive season, Nick Young was a first-team selection to the All-Dictrict 15 team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, first-team selection to the All-District 9 team by the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and All-Pac-10 First Team, as voted on by Pac-10 head coaches.
ALL-AROUND EFFORT FROM YOUNG -- Junior Nick Young finished the regular season second among Pac-10 players in scoring (17.5), fifth in field goal percentage (.535), fourth in three-point percentage (.438) and fourth in total minutes played (1,025).
GIBSON NAMED TO PAC-10 ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM -- USC freshman forward Taj Gibson was one of six players selected to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Gibson's solid first season sees his named littered up and down the conference leader charts. Gibson is tied for fourth among Pac-10 players in rebounds with an 8.3 average (1st among freshmen), tops in field goal percentage at .579 (1st among freshmen), second in blocks with 56 (2nd among freshmen) and tied for second in defensive rebounds with 179 (1st among freshmen). His 11.8 scoring average is fourth on the Trojans and sixth among conference freshmen.
PRUITT JOINS 1,000 POINT CLUB -- Junior guard Gabe Pruitt scored 13 points on March 1 at Washington to give him 1,000 points exactly in his career, joining teammates senior Lodrick Stewart and junior Nick Young in the 1,000 career points scored club. Pruitt became the 32nd Trojan in history and third this season to reach 1,000 career points when he scored a layup with 4:12 left in the game to cut it to six points. In the season finale at Washington State, Pruitt scored 19, had six assists and five steals.
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 56.
TROJANS NO STRANGER TO TIGHT CONTESTS -- USC is 6-4 in games decided by five points or less following the 88-86 double-overtime loss at Washington State on March 3. The Trojans are also 5-2 in games decided by 6-10 points and have won 11 games decided by 10 points or less (11-6), second most among Pac-10 teams. Oregon is 12-4 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 .386 field goal percentage, seventh 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 .386 percentage is sixth best in USC history.
N'DIAYE SWATS WAY TO TOP 10 -- With two blocks on Feb. 24 vs. California, Abdoulaye N'diaye now has 64 career blocks as a Trojan, 10th best in school history.