USC To Host The ACC's Georgia Tech Monday At The Galen Center
Dec. 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans (7-3) will face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-2) on Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. USC is 6-0 at home this season. The last time the Trojans started the season with more consecutive home wins was during the 2002 season when they began 7-0 at home. USC is seeking a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. Today's game will be shown live on FSW with Ted Robinson and Marques Johnson calling the action. Charissa Thompson will be the sideline reporter.
BREAKING DOWN GEORGIA TECH -- Head coach Paul Hewitt is in his ninth season of leading the Yellow Jackets and is a former assistant at USC (1989-90). Georgia Tech was picked to finish eighth in the ACC, but are off to a strong start (7-2) with five players averaging double figures in scoring. Sophomore forward Gani Lawal has averaged 18.2 points in the Yellow Jackets' first nine games. USC lost the only meeting all-time against Georgia Tech, falling 79-78 in the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament on a long three-pointer by James Forrest at the buzzer
FRESHMEN LEAD TROJANS TO VICTORY -- Freshmen DeMar DeRozan (18) and Leonard Washington (17) both totaled a season high in points, combining for 35 to lead USC to a hard-fought 61-57 victory on Dec. 20 at the Galen Center. In a game in which neither side led by more than six points, NDSU took its final lead 57-56 with 1:49 left in the game, but USC scored the final five points on a jumper by DeRozan, two free throws by Washington and a free throw by Taj Gibson. Gibson recorded his sixth double-double of the season as he grabbed 16 second-half rebounds to finish with 18 boards and 10 points.
ORAL ROBERTS ON DECK -- Summit League preseason favorite Oral Roberts is 2-10 with a game on Dec. 22 vs. South Florida before facing USC on Dec. 28 at the Galen Center. Ten-year head coach Scott Sutton leads the Golden Eagles and ranks second in school history in wins. ORU has reached the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons. Senior Robert Jarvis was averaging 17.9 points through Oral Roberts' first 11 games this season. USC trails in the all-time series with ORU 4-2, losing the last meeting 68-48 at the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 23, 2005.
TROJANS WINNING THE BOARD GAME -- So far this season, USC has enjoyed a 10.6 rebound edge per game (40.8-30.2). The Trojans have outrebounded the opposition in all 10 games. USC had the same amount of rebounds as its opponents last season, and lost the battle of the boards the two previous seasons. The 10 consecutive games USC has had more rebounds than its opponent is the best stretch in the Tim Floyd era. USC was outrebounded in 17 of 33 games last season.
GIBSON CLOSING IN ON SOME MILESTONES -- Taj Gibson has 33 blocks this season and 186 in his career, just nine blocks behind Sam Clancy's (1999-02) school record of 195 blocks. Gibson also has 964 career points, 36 away from becoming the 33rd Trojan in history to reach the 1,000 career points scored club.
MARKAS RETURNS TO THE BOOTH -- USC play-by-play announcer Rory Markas of 710 ESPN Radio returns to the radio booth for tonight's game. He missed the first 10 games of the season as he recovered from Nov. 3 surgery to remove a blood clot from the side of his head. Markas is in his 11th season of announcing USC men's basketball and joins again color commentator Jim Hefner, who is in his 13th season. The Trojans would like to thank Steve Physioc and Isaac Lowenkron who did a great job of filling in for Markas at the beginning of the season.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,445-1,032 in their 103 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 73 of the first 102 seasons.
TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS -- USC is not currently ranked. USC began the season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and CBSSportsline.com Poll.
GIBSON A PRESEASON WOODEN AWARD CANDIDATE -- For the second consecutive season, USC forward Taj Gibson is listed as one of the 50 preseason Wooden Award candidates. Gibson is the first Trojan so listed since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate. Gibson averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore, while setting the USC single-season blocked shots record with 83. Gibson is also listed as an Athlon Preseason All-American (HM) and No. 6 on Lindy's list of top centers.
DEROZAN NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM -- USC freshman DeMar DeRozan has been named to the CollegeHoops.net All-Freshman team. DeRozan was a McDonald's All-American and averaged 29.2 points his senior season at Compton High in Compton, Calif. Athlon Sports also named DeRozan to the preseason Pac-10 all-conference third team. DeRozan is also listed as a third-team selection to The Sporting News Preseason All-America team, the No. 9 small forward by Lindy's and the No. 3 freshman by Lindy's.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR -- USC's roster includes four players from outside of the country. Guards Daniel Hackett from Italy and Ryan Wetherell from Canada begin their third season with the Trojans, while forward Mamadou Diarra of Mali enters his second and forward Nikola Vucevic from Montenegro begins his first season at USC.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham, injured on Nov. 23 vs. Missouri, had reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee on Nov. 26. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Guard Ryan Wetherell has an eye injury and is expected to miss at least several more games.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in USC's first 10 games, including six double-doubles giving him 22 in his career (22 points/10 rebounds vs. NMSU, 19 points/18 rebounds vs. SHU and 17 points/15 rebounds vs. UTC, 12 points/10 rebounds at Oklahoma, 25 points/11 rebounds vs. Pepperdine, 10 points/18 rebounds vs. NDSU). The 25 points on Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine was a career high and the 18 rebounds on Nov. 20 vs. SHU and Dec. 20 vs. NDSU tied a career high. His 18 rebounds vs. Seton Hall, along with SHU's John Garcia, established a new Puerto Rico Tip-Off single-game record.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT -- Junior point guard Daniel Hackett recorded a career-high 13 assists in the game at Oklahoma on Dec. 4. His assist total was the most by a Trojan since Brandon Granville set the school record with 15 vs. Memphis on Nov. 23, 1999. Hackett's 13 assists are tied for the fourth most in a single game by a USC player, along with Larry Friend (13 on Dec. 6, 1985 vs. ASU) and Casey Jones (13 on Dec. 18, 1976 vs. Baylor). Hackett leads all conference players with 62 assists.
HACKETT IS MONEY FROM THE LINE -- USC junior Daniel Hackett made .823 percent of his free throws last season (79 of 96) to finish fifth among Pac-10 players from the line. He is 35-for-41 this season (.854) and his career free throw percentage of .815 (198 of 243) currently places him first all-time among Trojan players (Harold Miner - .814). Hackett made 18 consecutive free throws dating back to last season, before missing his final one against New Mexico St. on Nov. 18 and has hit 46 of his last 52 (.885).
LEWIS LIGHTING IT UP -- Junior Dwight Lewis entered the season with 51 career three-pointers made, the most on the USC roster. He has made a team-leading 15 three-pointers this season and needs two more to move past Rory O'Neill (67) for 20th on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list. Lewis scored a career-high 26 points in the 74-69 win vs. USF on Dec. 1 and followed that up with 25 points at Oklahoma on Dec. 4, his two best career scoring outputs. He scored in double figures in a career-high nine straight games to start this season, but was held to four points in the win vs. NDSU. Prior to this season, his longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was four.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 6-0 at the Galen Center this season and have won 10 consecutive home games dating back to 2007-08, a new Galen Center record. USC's won nine consecutive games at the Galen Center Nov. 18-Dec. 28, 2006 during the inaugural season. The last time USC won 10 consecutive home games was when they started the 2000-01 season 10-0 at home which was part of a 12-game home winning streak as they ended the previous season with two victories at home.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2008-09 schedule features a potential 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2007-08, including 13 that won 20 or more games. Also, eight of the teams that USC is set to face were in last year's tournament, including two games each with the five other Pac-10 teams which were in the NCAA Tournament. USC's opponents have a combined 53-48 record through games of Dec. 20 (50-41 if you take out the result against USC). Three of USC's opponents are a combined 3-27, while the other seven are 50-21.
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost three games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (8-2) and Missouri (9-1) and fell by a point at No. 4 Oklahoma (11-0). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 28-3.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 41 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's first 110 games as USC's head coach. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 57 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 110 games under Floyd. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only once this season (Missouri). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 68 of the last 80 games.
TROJANS ALL-ACCESS PROVIDES EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE -- USC is offering 11 games this season exclusively on Trojans All-Access, as the only video coverage. Fans can sign up at USCTrojans.com and watch selected games on their computers. Remaining games to be shown exclusively on Trojans All-Access are: Dec. 28 vs. Oral Roberts, Jan. 2 at Oregon (delayed), Jan. 15 vs. Arizona St. (delayed).