USC Takes On Arizona Saturday At Galen
Jan. 16, 2009
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans (11-5, 2-2) will host the Arizona Wildcats (11-6, 2-3) at the Galen Center on Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. USC has won eight of its last 11 games with the losses being by one point at then No. 6 Oklahoma, in overtime at Oregon St. and by four to then No. 10/7 UCLA. USC lost for the first time at home this season on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA and is now 9-1 at home. Last season, USC was 10-6, 1-3 after the first 16 games.
BREAKING DOWN THE WILDCATS -- Arizona lost 83-60 at UCLA on Jan. 15 to drop to 2-3 in conference play, 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. The Wildcats are led by a trio of juniors in Chase Budinger (17.1 ppg, 5.8 reb.), Jordan Hill (18.1 ppg, 11.8 reb.) and Nic Wise (13.1 ppg, 4.9 apg.). USC trails in the all-time series with Arizona, 37-54, though the Trojans have won four of the last five meetings.
DEFENSE LEADS TO VICTORY OVER No. 16 ASU -- USC held the Pac-10's top shooting team Arizona State to 34.1 percent from the floor in a 61-49 comeback win at the Galen Center on Jan. 15. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his game and career-high 22 points in the second half to help the Trojans overcome a seven-point halftime deficit. Dwight Lewis came off the bench for the first time this season and poured in 18 points, including making a career-best five three-point baskets. Daniel Hackett had six assists and four points, but was the primary defender on ASU's James Harden who was held to a career-low four points (0-for-8 from the field). Taj Gibson added 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for his 24th career double-double.
WASHINGTON ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Washington (12-4, 3-1) in Seattle, Wash. on Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. Washington defeated Oregon 84-67 on Jan. 15 and will play at Oregon State on Jan. 17 before facing the Trojans. Freshman Isaiah Thomas leads the Huskies in scoring with a 16.2 average. Right behind him is senior forward Jon Brockman who is averaging a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. Brockman became the Huskies' all-time career rebound leader when he grabbed 10 at Oregon to give him 1,054 in his career. USC lead the all-time series with Washington, 65-63.
GIBSON JOINS ELITE SWAT TEAM -- Taj Gibson had three blocks vs. Arizona State on Jan. 15 to give him 202 in his career. He became just the fourth Pac-10 player to achieve at least 200 career blocks, the others being Anthony Cook of Arizona (1986-89) with 278, Channing Frye of Arizona (2002-05) with 258 and Michael Stewart of California (1994-97) with 207. Gibson recorded his 196th career block on Jan. 2 at Oregon to surpass Sam Clancy's (1999-02) previous USC record of 195. Gibson also has been rising up the USC career scoring charts and currently stands 31st with 1,047 points.
DEROZAN DELIVERING DOUBLE: USC freshman DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 22 points in the win vs. ASU on Jan. 15. On Jan. 2 at Oregon, he had his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. DeRozan has reached double figures in scoring in 11 straight games, tied for the longest current streak in the Pac-10. In the last seven games, he has averaged 16.3 points (114) and 6.3 rebounds (44).
JOHNSON MAKING IMPACT -- USC guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, has immediately stepped in an had an impact. In his first five games, Johnson has averaged 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.4 minutes. He made his first start on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA and had 4 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. In his first game for USC vs. ORU on Dec. 28, Johnson scored six points, grabbed two rebounds and had three steals. He played in part of one exhibition game for UConn 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.
SENIOR WILKINSON STEPPING UP -- Senior forward Keith Wilkinson has averaged 7.3 points in the last four games and 6.6 points in the five games forward Leonard Washington has been out of the lineup. He also has 18 rebounds and 13 assists in the last five games.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,449-1,033 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.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in USC's first 16 games, including eight double-doubles giving him 24 in his career. The last Trojan to average a double-double was Jaha Wilson in 1994-95 (14.2 pts/10.1 reb.). 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 92 assists and 5.8 assists per game.
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 60-for-73 this season (.822) and his career free throw percentage of .811 (223 of 275) currently places him second all-time among Trojan players (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 before the miss and has hit 71 of his last 84 (.845).
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Junior Dwight Lewis came off the bench and broke out of a two-game shooting slump (4-for-24) to scored 18 points vs. ASU on Jan. 15. In the game, he hit a career-best five three-pointers. He now has made a team-leading 29 three-pointers this season and 80 in his career to move into 19th place on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list, past current USC Associate Athletic Director Brandon Martin (1993-96) who made 77 career three-pointers. 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, at the time his two best career scoring outputs. He matched his career high with 26 points at Oregon on Jan. 2, including making four three-pointers. Lewis scored in double figures in a career-high nine straight games to start this season and in 13 of 16 games overall. Prior to this season, his longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was four.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 9-1 at home this season. The loss to UCLA on Jan. 11 snapped a 12-game home winning streak at the Galen Center dating back to 2007-08, a 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. As of Jan. 15 USC's opponents have a combined 150-119 record, six of USC's opponents are a combined 35-66, while the other 10 are 115-53. Nine of USC's 15 opponents have a .500 or better record and nine of those teams have won nine or more games.
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost five games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (9-7), Missouri (14-3) and Oregon St. (6-9) and fell by a point at then No. 6 Oklahoma (16-1) and by four to then No. 7 UCLA (14-2). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 59-22 (through games of Jan. 15).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 47 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 116 games as USC's head coach, including eight this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 61 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 116 games under Floyd, nine times this season. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only twice this season (Missouri & Oregon St.). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 73 of the last 86 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, but has had a rebounding edge in 15 of 16 games this season. USC has enjoyed a 7.9 rebound edge per game (38.5-30.6), good for 12th in the country. 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.
GERRITY JOINS TEAM -- Point guard Mike Gerrity has transfered to USC from Charlotte and has begun practicing with the team. He will not be eligible for competition until after the Fall semester. He averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 assists in 22 games at Charlotee last season. As a freshman at Pepperdine for the 2005-06 season, he averaged 14.1 points and 3.4 assists in 21 games.