USC Ends Road Trip At Washington State Saturday

Jan. 23, 2009

The USC Trojans (12-6, 3-3) will face the Washington State Cougars (11-7, 3-3) at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash. on Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. The game will be carried by FSNW. USC is 7-3 in its last 10 games with the losses being in overtime at Oregon St., by four to then No. 10/7 UCLA and by five at Washington. Last season, USC was also 12-6, 3-3 after 18 games.

BREAKING DOWN THE COUGARS -- Washington State is coming off a 61-59 home loss to UCLA on Jan. 22. Redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie leads WSU with a 12.5 scoring average. He scored a career-high 30 points at Oregon on Jan. 17. USC leads the all-time series with the Cougars, 64-41, but lost both games last season and have lost nine of 11 games to Washington State, including five-straight in Pullman.

HUSKIES PRACTICE FREE THROWS AGAINST USC -- Already without leading scorer Dwight Lewis who was out with a sprained ankle, USC saw Washington outshoot them 40-17 at the free throw line and fell 78-73 in Seattle, Wash. on Jan. 22. The Trojans held Washington to 37 percent shooting and made eight more field goals than the Huskies, but could not overcome the 19-point advantage at the free throw line. Daniel Hackett scored a season-high 24 points to lead USC and Taj Gibson chipped in with his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

STANFORD ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. Stanford (13-3, 3-3) on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. Stanford is coming off a 77-55 win vs. Oregon on Jan. 22 and will host Oregon State on Jan. 24 before traveling to Los Angeles. Senior guard Anthony Goods leads the Cardinal with a 17.3 scoring average. USC leads the all-time series with Stanford, 117-116, and have won three straight vs. the Cardinal at home.

GIBSON JOINS ELITE SWAT TEAM -- Taj Gibson has 207 career blocks, 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 29th with 1,075 points. Paul Westphal is 28th on USC's scoring list with 1,085 career 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 13 straight games, the longest current streak in the Pac-10. In the last nine games, he has averaged 15.6 points (140) and 6.1 rebounds (55).

ROUGH ROAD AHEAD: USC brings a 1-3 road record into Pullman, Wash. and will play four of its next six games on the road: at UCLA (Feb. 4), at Arizona (Feb. 12) and at Arizona State (Feb. 15). USC is wearing its black uniforms for the second time ever (Feb. 17, 2008 vs. UCLA, a 56-46 loss) and for the first time on the road.

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 seven games, Johnson has averaged 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 15.7 minutes. He scored a season-high 8 points at Washington on Jan. 22 and made his first start on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA, scoring 4 points and grabbing 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 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in the last six games. He also has 12 assists in the six games. In the first 12 games he averaged 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds, while having a total of 14 assists. He also has hit 52.0 percent of his shots (13-for-25) in the last six games, after making 30.6 percent in the first 12.

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. Ryan Wetherell has an eye injury and is expected to miss at least several more games. Leonard Washington suffered a high left ankle sprain on Dec. 22...he missed the next 5 games before playing (16 minutes) on Jan. 17. Dwight Lewis missed last game with a left ankle sprain...day-to-day.

TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 14.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in USC's first 18 games, including nine double-doubles giving him 25 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. Gibson has scored in double figures in 17 of 18 games and has 8 rebounds or more in 14 of 18 games.

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 99 assists and 5.5 assists per game. He had four assists on Jan. 22 at Washington to give him 296 in his career, 10th place all-time by a Trojan. Rich Grande (1986-89) is 9th with 305 career 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 just 17-for-30 (.567) in his last six games, but is 65-for-85 (.765) for the season. Before the slump he had the best career FT shooting percentage by a Trojan and now stands 10th with a .794 percentage (228-for-287). 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 76 of his last 96 (.792). Harol Miner is USC's all-time leader in career FT percentage at .814.

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 followed that game up with 21 points vs. Arizona on Jan. 17. He missed the game at Washington on Jan. 22 with a sprained left ankle. He has made a team-leading 30 three-pointers this season and 81 in his career to move into 19th place on USC's all-time three-pointers made list, past current USC Associate AD 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 4 three-pointers. Lewis scored in double figures in a career-high 9 straight games to start this season and in 14 of 17 games overall.

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. 23 USC's opponents have a combined 192-144 record, five of USC's opponents are a combined 31-62, while the other 13 are 161-82. Ten of USC's 18 opponents have a .500 or better record and 13 of those teams have won 9 or more games. USC's last four opponents have a combined 56-18 record and USC is 2-2 in those games.

BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost six games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (9-9), Missouri (16-3) and Oregon St. (7-10) and fell by a point at then No. 6 Oklahoma (18-1), by four to then No. 7 UCLA (15-3) and by five at Washington (14-4). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 79-30 (through games of Jan. 23).

DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 47 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 118 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 62 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 118 games under Floyd, 10 times this season. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only three times this season (Missouri, OSU & Uof A). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 74 of the last 88 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 16 of 18 games this season (also outrebounded 36-34 at Washington). USC has enjoyed a 7.3 rebound edge per game, good for 18th 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.

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