USC To Face Arizona State At Noon Thursday In Pac-10 Quarterfinal Game
March 10, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC men's basketball team (20-10, 11-7) will will take on Arizona State (19-11, 9-9) on March 13 at 12 p.m. in quarterfinal action in the Pac-10 Tournament being held at Staples Center. USC has won 10 of 14 games and finished tied for third with Washington State in the Pac-10 regular season. USC is the fourth seed in the Pac-10 Tournament as WSU swept the season series with the Trojans.
USC AT THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT -- USC is 8-9 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games, last year reaching the title game before falling to Oregon, 81-57. USC also reached the finals in 2002 (Arizona) and 2003 (Oregon), but lost both times. USC has not faced Oregon State, UCLA and Washington in Pac-10 Tournament play and has the following records against the other conference foes: Arizona (0-3), Arizona State (1-0), California (1-2), Oregon (1-3), Stanford (3-1) and Washington State (2-0).
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE -- Arizona State is coming off a season-ending 77-64 win at Oregon State and is 5-9 in its last 14 games. USC's lone loss in the last six games was at Arizona St. (80-66) on March 1 in Tempe, Ariz. USC won the first meeting between the two teams by a score of 67-53 on Feb. 2 at the Galen Center. The Sun Devils are led in scoring by freshman James Harden at 17.7 points per game. USC defeated Arizona State 94-82 in the first round of the 1989 Pac-10 Tournament, their only meeting.
TROJANS DEFEAT STANFORD TO TIE FOR THIRD -- USC jumped out to an early 22-8 lead and Stanford got no closer than four points the rest of the way in a 77-64 win at the Galen Center on March 8 to secure a third-place tie in the Pac-10 regular season. USC outrebounded the Cardinal 47-31, its biggest advantage off the glass in any game this season. Stanford entered the game outrebounding its opponents by 8.9 rebounds a game, third best mark in the country. O.J. Mayo led USC with 25 points and added eight rebounds. Taj Gibson had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
FOUR TROJANS RECEIVE PAC-10 HONORS -- O.J. Mayo was named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team, Taj Gibson to the third team and Davon Jefferson was selected as honorable mention. Also, Mayo and Jefferson were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, while Angelo Johnson was an honorable mention selection. Gibson was named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team, while Mayo was an honorable mention pick.
GIBSON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Sophomore Taj Gibson was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 3-9 as he averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in wins over California and Stanford. In the win over No. 7 Stanford, Gibson had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED -- On a roster that features no seniors and just three juniors, the Trojans are relying on the underclassmen to handle much of the scoring. In the first 30 games, USC's freshmen scored 1,115 of the 2,097 points (53.2 percent) and the freshman and sophomores accounted for 2,013 of the 2,097 points (96.0 percent). The 96.0 percent of the team's scoring coming from underclassmen is the highest in the country.
IN TIM WE TRUST -- Tim Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 20 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 305-165 record (20-10 in 2007-08) in his 15 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-08). He won his 300th career game on Feb. 7 at Washington. Floyd posted a 42-25 record in his first two seasons as USC's head coach, the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first two seasons. Nine of his first 14 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (6 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 12 players in his 14 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,436-1,027 in their first 102 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 73 of the first 102 seasons.
USC TIES BEST 3-YEAR STRETCH -- USC has achieved 17 or more victories in all three years that Tim Floyd has been coach and for the first time in three consecutive seasons since the 1991-93 seasons. The 62 wins in this three-year stretch (17 in 2006, 25 in 2007 and 20 in 2008) is tied with the 2000-02 seasons for the most wins in a three-year stretch in USC history.
TROJANS RISE IN THE FALL -- USC is the first school in history to have a team reach the NCAA championship game in men's water polo (lost) and women's soccer (won), the NCAA Final Four in women's volleyball (lost in semis) and a BCS bowl game in football, (win) all in the same fall semester as the Trojans did in 2007.
TROJAN TIDBITS -- USC does not have a senior on the roster...USC's Taj Gibson was a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Award candidate, the first Trojan since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate...Gibson is also ranked as the No. 10 center in the country by The Sporting News and the No. 7 center by Lindy's...Gibson has been named a preseason third-team All-American by Rivals. O.J. Mayo is on the Bob Cousy Award candidates watch list and is rated the No. 2 point guard by The Sporting News and the No. 7 point guard by Lindy's. He also was named a preseason first-team All-American and picked as the Player of the Year by ESPN's Andy Katz and ESPN's Doug Gottlieb listed Mayo as a first-team preseason All-American. Mayo has also been selected by Collegehoops.net as the preseason Freshman of the Year. On Jan. 26, he was named to the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy top 30 candidates list.
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 339 votes, followed by Washington State (273), Oregon (240), Arizona (238), Stanford (205), USC (184), California (140), Washington (132), Arizona State (81) and Oregon State (38).
MAYO AMONG PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES -- Freshman guard O.J. Mayo was named on March 10 as one of the final 24 players on the John R. Wooden Award ballot. The Wooden Award winner will be announced on April 12. Mayo is also one of the top 30 candidates for the Naismith Trophy.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2007-08 schedule featured six games against teams ranked in the current top 11. USC played 15 games against teams that are ranked or were ranked at one point this season. USC's win over No. 7 Stanford on March 8 gives them 11 wins over Top 25 teams in the last two seasons, second-most behind UCLA's 16 according to STATS, Inc.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT AT THE LINE -- Sophomore Daniel Hackett has made 80.7 percent (71-for-88) of his free throws this season. He missed a free throw vs. Washington on Jan. 12 to snap a streak of 17 consecutive free throws made. He tied a career high by making 11 free throws (11-for-15) on Jan. 26 at Oregon. He entered that game having made 24 of his previous 25 attempts from the charity stripe.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham tore his left ACL and meniscus on Dec. 12 and had surgery on Dec. 28. He is expected to be out until next season.
THE USC BLOCK EXCHANGE IS RISING -- USC had a season-high nine blocks on Feb. 7 at Washington and has had 66 blocks in the last 13 games (5.1 per game). USC has 131 blocks as a team this season which rank fifth all-time in a season by a Trojan team. Last year's team finished with 148 blocks, good for third all-time by a Trojan team.
LONG DISTANCE MARKSMEN -- In its last six games, USC has made 48 of 102 shots (47.1 percent) from three-point range. O.J. Mayo led all players in Pac-10 games with 52 three-pointers made. For the season, USC's .389 percentage from three-point range is second among conference teams to Oregon's .401 three-point shooting percentage.
MAYO MAKING HIS MARK -- O.J. Mayo poured in a career-high 37 points on March 1 at Arizona, then added 22 vs. California and 25 vs. Stanford in the last two games to give him 626 points this season, a new school record for a freshman surpassing Harold Miner's total of 578 points in 1990. Mayo had two three-pointers vs. Stanford and his season total of 82 ranks as the fifth most three-pointers made in a season by a USC player. Mayo already established the USC freshman record for three-point baskets in a season. In the last six games Mayo has averaged 26.2 points (157 total). His 37-point game tied for the 11th best ever by a Trojan. Mayo's average of 20.9 points a game is the highest ever by a Trojan freshman and his three-point field goal percentage (.412) and free throw percentage (.797) are third-best ever by a USC freshman.
INSIDE THE LOSSES -- In four of USC's 10 losses, the Trojans did not have the starting lineup intact,and in a fifth loss (Arizona), Daniel Hackett was injured two minutes into the game and did not return. In the loss on Feb. 9 at Washington State, Hackett played but was limited due to back spasms.
INSIDE THE LOSSES, PART II -- The composite record of the opponent in the 10 games which USC has lost is 219-84, with 19 of the losses appearing on Mercer's ledger. Five of USC's 10 losses this season are to teams that are currently or were previously ranked in the top four in the country and eight of the 10 teams have been ranked this season in the Top 25.
TROJANS POST WINNING PAC-10 ROAD RECORD -- USC ended 5-4 on the road in Pac-10 play, only its third winning conference road record in the last 16 seasons (5-4 in the 2001 and 2002 seasons). USC's loss at Washington State on Feb. 9 snapped a four-game conference road winning streak, its longest since the 1992 season when they won five consecutive Pac-10 road games. USC won five of its last seven conference road games. The last time USC won six conference road games was 1992 when they went 6-3.
GIBSON IS DOUBLE TROUBLE -- Sophomore forward Taj Gibson had 20 points and 11 rebounds on March 8 vs. Stanford for his fifth double-double of the season. He also reached double didgits in points and rebounds vs. UCLA on Feb. 17 (16 points/12 rebounds), at Oregon State on Jan. 24 (14 points/14 rebounds), vs. San Diego on Nov. 22 (13 points/14 rebounds) and vs. Mercer on Nov. 10 (13 points/14 rebounds). He now has 16 career double-doubles.
HOT SHOT GIBSON -- USC's Taj Gibson has been on fire from the field hitting 67.8 percent of his shots in the last 20 games (101-for-149). Gibson led all players in conference play with a .667 field goal percentage (92-for-138). His current season average of 59.28 percent (131-for-221) would rank as the second-best shooting percentage by a Trojan if the season were to end today, trailing Jeff McMillan's 62.96 set in 2004. Gibson's 55.58 percentage in 2007 is the 9th-best in a season by a Trojan.
TOEING THE LINE -- USC was 27-for-36 (75 percent) from the free throw line at Oregon on Jan. 26, a season high in makes and attempts. USC is shooting 69.3 (296-for-427) percent from the free throw line in the last 22 games, after shooting 65.7 percent from the charity stripe in the first eight games. USC's best game (12 or more shots) from the line was on Nov. 17 at South Carolina when they made 23 of 27 free throws (85.2 percent). The Trojans have hit 68.3 percent of their free throws (413-for-605) this season. Last season as a team USC hit 71.5 percent of its free throws, its best mark since hitting 71.8 percent from the charity stripe in 1984. USC has out-shot its opponents from the free throw line this season 605-477. USC is 13-2 in games it shoots 20 or more free throws.
WSU DOES MERCER ONE BETTER -- USC allowed Washington State to shoot an opponent season-high 59.6 percent (28-for-47) on Feb. 9, surpassing the 59.4 percent (38-for-64) that first-game opponent Mercer hit on Nov. 10 at Galen Center. These are the two highest shooting percentage in a game by a Trojan foe since UCLA made 60.7 percent of its shots on Feb. 24, 2005.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 35 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's first 97 games as USC's head coach. The Trojans have held 18 of their opponents this season to 38.2 percent shooting or less, making it 50 times in the first 97 games (51.5 percent) under Floyd that USC has held its opponents to 40 percent shooting or less. USC was outshot 44.2 to 51.3 percent on March 1 at Arizona State, just the fourth time in 30 games this season that the Trojans were outshot from the field. USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 57 of the last 67 games.
MAKING IT HARD TO SCORE -- Through games of March 8, USC ranks 16th in the country and tops in the Pac-10 in defensive field goal percentage at 39.3 percent. USC held OSU to 27.7 percent shooting on Jan. 24, the seventh opponent that the Trojans have held to its lowest percentage of the season as of that game, the others being Kansas (37.9), Memphis (37.3), Oklahoma (35.6), Stanford (27.0), Washington (33.3) and UCLA (33.3). In fact, USC held UCLA and Stanford to their two lowest shooting percentages of the season.
MAYO GARNERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- Freshman O.J. Mayo was named Pac-10 and SportingNews.com Player of the Week (Feb. 18-24) as he tallied 53 points to lead USC to a home sweep of the Oregon schools. He hit .471 percent of his shots (16-for-34) and was even better from three-point range, hitting at a .643 clip (9-for-14). In the win vs. Oregon, Mayo led USC back from a 15-point first-half deficit and 13-point second half deficit by tallying 32 points. Mayo scored 18 of the Trojans final 24 points. In the win vs. OSU, Mayo scored 21 points in 25 minutes, with three steals, five rebounds and hit 4 of 7 three-pointers.
JEFFERSON NAMED COLLEGEHOOPS.NET PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Trojan freshman Davon Jefferson scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 72-63 win at UCLA on Jan. 19 to earn CollegeHoops.net's Player of the Week honors for Jan. 14-20. Jefferson scored 10 of USC's final 12 points, including the last eight points in the game. He had 12 points and 13 rebounds on Dec. 4 vs. Memphis for his first career double-double and had his second at Arizona on Feb. 28 with 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Jefferson scored 17 points vs. Delaware St. on Dec. 17 and Feb. 7 at Washington, 18 at Oregon State on Jan. 24 and 19 vs. Arizona on Jan. 31. The five-star recruit from Lynwood, Calif. played in his first game on Nov. 22 vs San Diego and scored five points in 19 minutes and hasn't slowed down since. Jefferson had his early season progress slowed due to a left knee injury in the preseason. He then led USC with 20 points in the Anaheim Classic finals win over Southern Illinois on Nov. 25 and with 23 points in his first career start on Nov. 29 vs. Oklahoma.
COMPARING THE WINS VS. LOSSES -- It has been well documented that the Trojans have struggled this season when not fielding the normal starting lineup. Here are a few other things to note about USC in wins vs. losses:
WINS LOSSES .515 Field Goal Percentage .428 .437 Three-point Percentage .295 13.3 Turnovers Per Game 17.3 13.9 Assists Per Game 10.1 +2.4 Rebound Differential -4.6 22.8 USC FT Taken Per Game 15.0 13.3 Opponent FT Taken Per Game 21.2
STINGY DEFENSE -- When USC allowed California 92 points on Jan. 3, it was just the second time in Tim Floyd's three years as the Trojan head coach that they allowed 90 or more points in a game, both times this season. It also snapped a streak of nine straight Trojan opponents held to 62 points or less. USC had held the opposition to an average of 54.4 (490 total) points in the previous nine games. The last time USC had held its opponents to 62 points or less for nine consecutive games was in the 1950 season (Jan. 27-March 3, 1950). USC has held 18 of 30 teams it has faced this season to 62 points or less (and one to 63 points).
TAJ AT THE TOP -- Sophomore Taj Gibson leads all Pac-10 players with 74 blocks this season and is the conference's active career blocks leader. He had six blocks on Nov. 16 at The Citadel, the most since he had a career-high seven blocks on Jan. 4, 2007 at Oregon, which had tied for the fourth most in a game by a Trojan. He has had five games of four blocks and two games of five blocks this season. He now ranks second all-time at USC with 143 career blocks, trailing only USC career leader Sam Clancy who had 195 career swats.
TROJANS CAPTURE ANAHEIM CLASSIC TITLE -- USC defeated No. 19 Southern Illinois 70-45 on Nov. 25 to capture the inaugural Anaheim Classic title at the Anaheim Convention Center. USC shot 59.5 percent from the floor, while holding the Salukis to 32.7 percent shooting. Davon Jefferson led the Trojans with 20 points. Southern Illinois had defeated its first three opponents by an average of 18.7 points. USC's 70 points marked just the third time in the last 40 games that SIU had allowed 70 or more points. USC had defeated San Diego (60-50) in the first round and Miami of Ohio (57-53) in the semi-finals. O.J. Mayo was named tournament MVP as he averaged 18.0 points and 3.7 rebounds helping lead USC to the title with wins over San Diego, Miami (OH) and Southern Illinois.
BRINGING OUT THE WORST IN THE OPPOSITION -- USC has held 12 of 30 opponents to either their worst or second worst shooting percentage of the season to that date and has held 12 of 30 teams to their first or second lowest points total in the 2007-08 season. The Trojans held Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma, Stanford (lowest 2), Washington, UCLA (lowest 2) and Oregon State to their worst shooting percentage and Kansas, Memphis, Stanford, Washington, Oregon State and UCLA to their lowest point total.
DWIGHT DOING IT RIGHT -- Trojan sophomore guard Dwight Lewis, who grew up in Metairie, La. but was uprooted by hurricane Katrina to Katy, Texas, scored a career-high 24 points in the 95-86 overtime win at Oregon on Jan. 26. He then scored 21 in the overtime win vs. California on March 1. His previous high scoring games were 18 points in the wins at South Carolina on Nov. 17 and vs. Delaware State on Dec. 17. He has scored in double-figures in 18 of 30 games this season.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS -- With the loss at Arizona St. on March 1, USC finished 7-4 in road games this season. The Trojans started 2-0 on the road for just the second time in the last seven seasons and fourth time in the last 32 seasons with early-season wins at The Citadel and South Carolina. The last time USC won seven road games in a season was in the 2001-02 season when they went 9-5.
LEARNING THE BOARD GAME -- In the win at UCLA on Jan. 19, USC was outrebounded 39-30, including allowing the Bruins an opponent season-high 25 offensive boards. USC has allowed 10 opponents to register 15 or more offensive rebounds in a game this season. USC has allowed 40 or more rebounds in a game 7 times this season and has been outrebounded 16 times, but has outrebounded the opposition in a season high six consecutive games. USC has more defensive boards that its opponents 738-618, but has been outrebounded on the offensive glass 389-271. The four offensive rebounds USC held Arizona to on Feb. 28 and ASU to on March 1 were a season low by an opponent, but in 11 of the last 15 games the opposition has had at least 10 offensive rebounds.
HACKETT'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE EARNS HIM TSN'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Guard Daniel Hackett was named The Sporting News National Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 12-18, as he averaged 21.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds, while making 71.4 percent of his shots. Hackett, who had missed six weeks with a broken jaw which was wired shut until Nov. 9 and returned to full practice for the first time on Nov. 12, scored a career high 21 points in his first game back in the 74-47 win at The Citadel on Nov. 15 and followed that up with a new career best of 22 points in the 85-75 win at South Carolina on Nov. 17. In the South Carolina game, Hackett also had career highs in rebounds (10) and assists (10) for a rare triple-double, the first by a Trojan player in at least 30 seasons.
DYNAMIC DEBUTS FOR MAYO -- O.J. Mayo scored 32 points in his collegiate debut on Nov. 10 vs. Mercer, a new USC record for a freshman in his first collegiate game. His 32-point total was at the time the sixth-most by a Trojan freshman in a single game, with the record being 39 by Cliff Robinson on Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California. The 32 points scored by Mayo were also the most in a game by a player in the two-year history of the Galen Center. Mayo then added a 34-point game on Jan. 3 at California in his Pac-10 debut. Mayo's 34 points were the most by a Trojan since Gabe Pruitt scored 36 on Dec. 10, 2005 at LMU. The 34 points also tied for the fifth most ever in a game by a USC freshman. Mayo then tied his Galen Center record with 32 on Feb. 21 vs. Oregon. But he was not done, on March 1 at Arizona St., Mayo scored a season-high 37 points, tied for second all-time by a USC freshman in a single game. Mayo now has more 30-point games (4) than any other freshman in USC history and has scored more points than any other Trojan freshman (626).
USC Top Single-Game Freshman Scoring Records 39 - Cliff Robinson, Feb. 2, 1978 vs. California 37 - O.J. Mayo, March 1, 2008 at Arizona State 37 - Harold Miner, Dec. 28, 1989 vs. Central Connecticut State 37 - Harold Miner, Jan. 25, 1990 vs. Oregon State 35 - Cliff Robinson, Jan. 20, 1978 vs. Portland State 34 - O.J. Mayo, Jan. 3, 2008 at California Harold Miner, Feb. 15, 1990 vs. Stanford 32 - O.J. Mayo, Nov. 10, 2007 vs. Mercer 32 - O.J. Mayo, Feb. 21, 2008 vs. Oregon
PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS -- USC has held 18 of the 30 teams it has faced this season to under 40 percent shooting. In the 18 games, the composite shooting percentage of USC's opponents is .339 (375-for-1107).
SLOW START...FAST FINISH -- USC began conference play at 0-3, tied with Oregon State for the worst record in the conference through games of Jan. 10. USC went 11-4 in the Pac-10 since that point, trailing only UCLA (13-2) and tied with Stanford (11-4) for the best conference records.
YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED, BUT... -- USC's Davon Jefferson has also had a great first season with USC, cracking the school's freshman top 10 list is points (9th - 313), points per game (8th - 12.0), FG percentage (3rd - 56.9), FT made (T-5th - 64), FT percentage (9th - 71.9), blocks (8th - 26) and rebounds (6th - 162).
JOHNSON RETURNS HOME -- Former UCONN forward Marcus Johnson has transferred to USC and has enrolled in classes for the spring semester. Johnson will be able to play for USC following the fall semester next season. He played in one exhibition game for the Huskies this season and may petition for an extra year of eligibility. The 6-6 Johnson averaged 4.9 points in 51 contests for UCONN (24 starts) in his first two seasons. He prepped at Westchester H.S. in Los Angeles and was a consensus Top 50 national recruit.
COMING ATTRACTIONS AT THE GALEN CENTER -- The Trojans announced recruits for the 2008-09 season are guard DeMar DeRozan of Compton, Calif., Percy 'Romeo' Miller from Beverly Hills, Calif. and Donte Smith from Pomona, Calif. With these three signings, the Trojans earned the No. 8 rated recruiting class nationally by HoopScoop. DeRozan, a 6-7, 200-pound guard, averaged 22.3 points per game as a junior leading Compton High to a Moore League title and 26 wins. He really excelled this past summer while playing in the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, Va., the Nike-sponsored Kobe Bryant 'Wing' Camp at Mater Dei High and the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. DeRozan was ranked by Hoopscoop.com at the top rated player at the LeBron James Skills Academy held last July. DeRozan is the No. 2 ranked high school player in the country by Rivals.com and by Hoopscoop.com and was a first-team selection to the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best In The West Team. Miller, a 5-11, 170-pound point guard from Beverly Hills High in Beverly Hills, Calif., averaged 13.9 points and 5.6 assists as a junior. Miller played at the 2006 ABCD Camp as one of the top 200 high school basketball players. Miller, formerly known as Lil' Romeo, has released five rap and hip-hop albums and had a television show titled, Romeo! Miller also co-starred in a yet to be released movie 'Sweetwater' in which he plays Nat 'Sweetwater' Clifton, the first African-American basketball player to play for an NBA team. Millier is also the son of rapper and hip-hop mogul Master P, who had tryouts with two NBA teams in the 1990s. Smith, a 5-11, 170-pound guard from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., is sitting out this season so he can join USC next year as a sophomore and have three years of eligibility remaining. In his one year of playing at Mt. SAC, he averaged 21.7 points per game, with a season best of 37 points, and made 100 three-point shots. Smith is rated as the No. 1 junior college player by the Jerry Mullens Report. As a senior at Diamond Ranch HS in Pomona, Calif., Smith averaged 18.4 points, 3.2 steals, 4.2 assists and shot 58 percent from three-point range.