USC Begins Pac-10 Play At Oregon On Friday

Dec. 30, 2008

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The USC Trojans (9-3) will face the Oregon Ducks (6-6) in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. USC is 0-1 on the road, 1-2 in neutral-site games and 8-0 at home this season. USC has won six of its last seven games with the loss being by one point at No. 4 Oklahoma. Today's game will be shown delayed on Trojans All-Access, located at USCTrojans.com.

BREAKING DOWN OREGON -- Oregon is 6-6, 4-2 at McArthur Court this season and has won two straight. Junior guard Tajuan Porter leads four Ducks in double figures with a 14.4 scoring average. Oregon was picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 this season. USC defeated the Ducks both times last season and have won four of the last five meetings. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon 60-42 and has won the last three games at McArthur Court. Nine of the last 10 games at Oregon between the Trojans and the Ducks have been decided by 10 points or less, including two overtime games.

TROJANS DEFEAT ORU FOR FOURTH-STRAIGHT WIN -- DeMar DeRozan scored 18 and Taj Gibson 16 points to lead USC to a 66-56 win over Oral Roberts on Dec. 28 at the Galen Center. USC held ORU to 39 percent shooting and forced the Golden Eagles into 21 turnovers. The Trojans received a boost in the game from UConn transfer Marcus Johnson who scored six points and had three steals in his first game for USC after sitting out the first semester.

BEAVERS ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Oregon State on Jan. 4 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be aired on FSNW. Oregon State is off to a 5-5 start under new head coach Craig Robinson. The Beavers have been led in scoring by sophomore guard Calvin Haynes, who is averaging 18.8 points per game. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon State 65-54, including winning the last seven games which is the Trojans' longest winning streak in the series.

HOW THEY STACK IN THE PAC -- The game at Oregon begins Pac-10 play for USC. The Trojans were picked in the preseason to finish third in the conference. Last season USC finished 11-7 and tied for third. USC also finished 11-7 in conference during the 2006-07 season and are attempting to reach double-figures in wins for three straight seasons in conference play for the first time. Every team in the Pac-10 enters conference play with at least a .500 record.

GIBSON ABOUT TO MAKE HISTORY -- Taj Gibson has 41 blocks this season and 194 in his career, just one block behind Sam Clancy's (1999-02) school record of 195 blocks. Gibson also has 995 career points, five away from becoming the 33rd Trojan in history to reach the 1,000 career points scored club.

USC TAKES TO THE ROAD -- USC is 0-1 on the road this season. USC was 7-4 in road games last season, winning five of its last seven road contests. USC is 7-3 in its last 10 Pac-10 road openers, but lost 92-82 last season at California to kick off the conference slate. USC has won four of its last five conference openers played at Oregon.

Marcus Johnson ELIGIBLE FOR ACTION -- USC guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, has been cleared for competition and played on Dec. 28 vs. ORU. In his first game for USC, Johnson scored six points, grabbed two rebounds and had three steals. The 6-6 swingman played in 51 games at UConn, making 24 starts and averaging 4.9 points per game. He played in part of one exhibition game last season before transferring and thus had to sit out the first semester. He has a career high of 20 points on Dec. 18, 2005 vs. UNH.

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.

USC PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-10 -- At the annual Pac-10 Media Day held on Oct. 30, USC was picked to finish third in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the league media. UCLA was picked first with 379 votes, followed by Arizona State (325), USC (292), Arizona (241), Washington (217), Washington State (188), Oregon (147), California (143), Stanford (115) and Oregon State (40). USC was picked to finish sixth in 2007-08 and finished tied for third.

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 was negative and he is expected to miss at least two weeks.

TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in USC's first 12 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 74 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 48-for-55 this season (.873) and his career free throw percentage of .821 (211 of 257) currently places him first all-time among Trojan players (2nd -Harold Miner - .814). Hackett made his first 11 free throws on Dec. 22 vs. Georgia Tech before missing his final one. He had made 19 consecutive free throws and has hit 59 of his last 66 (.894).

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 18 three-pointers this season and 69 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 figures in a career-high nine straight games to start this season, but was held 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 figures was four.

ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 8-0 at the Galen Center this season and have won 12 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.

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 74-72 record through games of Dec. 29 (71-63 if you take out the result against USC). Four of USC's opponents are a combined 10-41, while the other eight are 64-31.

BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost three games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (9-3) and Missouri (10-2) and fell by a point at No. 4 Oklahoma (12-0). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 31-5.

DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 46 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 112 games as USC's head coach, including seven this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 59 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 112 games under Floyd, seven times this season. 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 70 of the last 82 games.

TROJANS WINNING THE BOARD GAME -- USC outrebounded the opposition in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by Oral Roberts on Dec. 29. USC has enjoyed a 9.0 rebound edge per game (39.8-30.8). 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 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.

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).

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