USC Hosts Stanford At Galen Center On Thursday
Jan. 27, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (13-6, 4-3) will host the Stanford Cardinal (13-4, 3-4) at the Galen Center on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be carried by FSN Prime Ticket with Jim Watson, Brandon Granville and Chris McGee providing commentary. USC is 8-3 in its last 11 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 13-6, 4-3 after 19 games.
BREAKING DOWN THE CARDINAL -- Stanford is coming off a 77-62 loss at home vs. Oregon State on Jan. 24. 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.
TROJANS RALLY TO WIN AT PULLMAN -- USC rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to win 46-44 at Washington State on Jan. 24 to snap a five-game losing streak at Pullman, Wash. Marcus Johnson's short floater in the lane with 49 seconds left gave USC its first lead of the second half at 42-41 and Daniel Hackett scored the next four points from the free throw line to put the game away, before a three-pointer by WSU's Taylor Rochestie at the final buzzer. Hackett led USC with 14 points and Taj Gibson had his 10th double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Nikola Vucevic made his first career start and had a season-best eight points and five rebounds.
HOW RARE WAS THAT WIN?: USC's 46-44 win at Washington State on Jan. 24 was its first when scoring that many points or less since also winning 46-44 at UCLA on March 8, 1969. In fact, USC has won just five of its last 28 games when scoring 59 points or less.
CALIFORNIA ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. California (16-4, 5-2) on Jan. 31 at 8:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. California is coming off a 76-69 win vs. Oregon on Jan. 24 and will play at UCLA on Jan. 29 before facing the Trojans. Junior Jerome Randle leads four Bears in double figures in scoring with a 19.0 average. USC trails in the all-time series with California, 116-125, but have won four of the last five at home vs. the Bears.
GIBSON JOINS ELITE SWAT TEAM -- Taj Gibson has 210 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 28th with 1,087 points, moving past Paul Westphal is USC's last game. Gabe Pruitt is 27th with 1,102 points.
DEROZAN DELIVERING: USC freshman DeMar DeRozan was held to five points on Jan. 24 at WSU snapping his conference-leading double-figure scoring streak at 13 games. In the last 10 games, he has averaged 14.5 points (145) and 5.9 rebounds (59). He 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.
DESPITE MISSING PIECES, FLOYD PUTS PUZZLE TOGETHER - USC is 4-3 in conference play despite having the whole team available for only the win over Arizona on Jan. 17. Already without forwards Kasey Cunningham for most of the season and Alex Stepheson for the entire season when his transfer waiver was denied, the Trojans were forced to play the first four conference games without forward Leonard Washington (who had started the previous four games before suffering a high ankle sprain), and then lost leading scorer guard Dwight Lewis for the last two games due to an ankle sprain.
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 eight games, Johnson has averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes. He scored 7 points, including the basket to give USC the lead, in the win at WSU on Jan. 24. 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. Johnson 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.
V FOR VUCEVIC -- Freshman forward made his first start on Jan. 24 at Washington State and notched career highs in points with 8 and rebounds with 5. He played 30 minutes in that game, after playing a total of 67 minutes in USC's first 18 contests. He also entered that game with a total of 10 points on the season. Vucevic is second on the team with 8 blocks.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 14.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in USC's first 19 games, including 10 double-doubles giving him 26 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 18 of 19 games and has 8 rebounds or more in 15 of 19 games. For the second consecutive season, he was listed as one of the 50 preseason Wooden Award candidates.
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 is second in the conference with 5.3 assists per game and third in total assists with 100. He currently has 297 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 snapped out of a 6-game slump from the line (17-for-30) by going 11-for-14 at WSU on Jan. 24, matching a career high in made free throws. He is 76-for-99 (.768) 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 (239-for-301). 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 87 of his last 110 (.791). 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 last two games 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.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 10-1 at home this season. The loss to UCLA on Jan. 11 snapped an 8-game home winning streak this season and a 12-game home winning streak at the Galen Center dating back to 2007-08, a Galen Center record. 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.
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. Through games of Jan. 26 USC's opponents have a combined 213-159 record, four of USC's opponents are a combined 24-55, while the other 15 are 189-104. Eleven of USC's 19 opponents have a .500 or better record and 15 of those teams have won 9 or more games. USC's last five opponents have a combined 69-27 record and USC is 3-2 in those games.
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost six games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (10-9), Missouri (17-3) and Oregon St. (9-10) and fell by a point at then No. 6 Oklahoma (20-1), by four to then No. 7 UCLA (15-4) and by five at Washington (15-4). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 86-31 (through games of Jan. 26).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 48 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 119 games as USC's head coach, including nine this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 63 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 119 games under Floyd, 11 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 75 of the last 89 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 19 games this season (also outrebounded 36-34 at Washington an tied 33-33 at WSU). 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.