USC Hosts Oral Roberts Sunday in Final Game Before Pac-10 Slate
Dec. 26, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans (8-3) will face the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles(3-10) on Dec. 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Galen Center. USC is 7-0 at home this season, its best start at home since also starting 7-0 at home in the 2001-02 season. The last time the Trojans started the season with more consecutive home wins was during the 2000-01 season when they began 10-0 at home. USC has won fi ve of its last six games with the loss being by one point at No. 4 Oklahoma. Today's game will be shown live on Trojans All-Access, located at USCTrojans.com.
BREAKING DOWN ORAL ROBERTS -- Summit League preseason favorite Oral Robertsis 3-10, with the 86-63 win vs. South Florida on Dec. 22 snapping a fi ve-game losing streak. 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 is averaging 18.9 points through Oral Roberts' fi rst 12 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 PULL AWAY FROM GT -- DeMar DeRozan scored eight points during USC's14-2 run to start the second half and break open a two-point game and lead the Trojans to a 76-57 win vs. Georgia Tech on Dec. 22 at the Galen Center. Dwight Lewis led USC with 19 points and DeRozan added 17. Taj Gibson had 14 rebounds and 15 points for his seventh double-double of the season. USC held Georgia Tech to 29 percent shooting in the second half and 34.9 percent in the game.
DUCKS ON DECK -- USC will begin the new year and Pac-10 play on Jan. 2 in Eugene,Ore. where it will face the Ducks in a 1 p.m. game. Oregon is 5-6 and will host Long Beach St. on Dec. 29 before facing USC. Junior guard Tajuan Porter leads Oregon with a 14.9 scoring average. The Ducks were picked to fi nish seventh in the Pac-10 this season. USC defeated the Ducks both times last season and have won four of the last fi ve meetings. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon 65-54 and have won the last three games at McArthur Court.
TROJANS WINNING THE BOARD GAME -- So far this season, USC has enjoyeda 10.0 rebound edge per game (40.5-30.5). The Trojans have outrebounded the opposition in all 11 games and entered this week with the sixth best differential in the country (+10.6). USC had the same amount of rebounds as its opponents last season, and lost the battle of the boards the two previous seasons. The 11 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 36 blocks thisseason and 189 in his career, just six blocks behind Sam Clancy's (1999-02) school record of 195 blocks. Gibson also has 979 career points, 21 away from becoming the 33rd Trojan in history to reach the 1,000 career points scored club.
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. Forward Leonard Washington suffered a high left ankle sprain on Dec. 22...an MRI wasnegative and he is expected to miss at least two weeks.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in USC's fi rst 11 games, including seven double-doubles giving him 23 in his career. 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 71 assists.
HACKETT IS MONEY FROM THE LINE -- USC junior Daniel Hackett made .823 percent of his free throws last season (79 of 96) to fi nish fifth among Pac-10 players from the line. He is 46-for-53 this season (.868) and his career free throw percentage of .820 (209 of 255) currently places him fi rst all-time among Trojan players (Harold Miner - .814). Hackett made his fi rst 11 free throws on Dec. 22 vs. GeorgiaTech before missing his fi nal one. He had made 19 consecutive free throws and has hit 57 of his last 64 (.891).
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 17 three-pointers this season and 68 in his career 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 fi gures in a career-high nine straight games to start this season, but washeld to four points in the win vs. NDSU. He bounced back with a team-leading 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting vs. Georgia Tech on Dec. 22. Prior to this season, his longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double fi gures was four.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 7-0 at the Galen Center this season and have won 11 consecutive home games dating back to 2007-08, a new Galen Center record. USC's record for most consecutive wins in one season at the Galen Center is nine consecutive games Nov. 18-Dec. 28, 2006 during the inaugural season. The last time USC won more consecutive home games to start a season was the 2000-01 season when they began 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.
STEPHESON WAIVER PETITION DENIED -- Talented forward Alex Stepheson had his transfer waiver petition denied by the NCAA on Nov. 19 and will not be eligible for competition this season. Stepheson had requested eligibility for USC this season after transferring from North Carolina this fall due to family health concerns.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2008-09 schedule features a potential 22 games against teams that fi nished .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 fi ve other Pac-10 teams which were in the NCAA Tournament. USC's opponents have a combined 64-56 record through games of Dec. 26 (61-48 if you take out the result against USC). Three of USC's opponents are a combined 5-28, while the other seven are 59-28.
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost three games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (8-3) and Missouri (9-2) and fell by a point at No. 4 Oklahoma (12-0). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 29-5.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 42 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's fi rst 111 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 58 teams under 40 percent shooting in the fi rst 111 games under Floyd. USC was outshot from the fi eld in just fi ve of 33 games last season and only once this season (Missouri). USC has had a bettershooting percentage that its opponent in 69 of the last 81 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 tobe shown exclusively on Trojans All-Access are: Dec. 28 vs. Oral Roberts, Jan. 2 at Oregon (delayed), Jan. 15 vs. Arizona St. (delayed).