USC To Face 4-1 Coppin State On Friday
Nov. 25, 2009
The USC Trojans (1-1) will face the Coppin State Eagles (4-1) on Nov. 27 at the Galen Center at 7:30 p.m. The game can be watched live on USCTrojans.com and will be aired on ESPN Radio 710 AM.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES -- USC will host Coppin State (Baltimore, Md.) on Friday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. It will be the first meeting ever between the Trojans and the Eagles. CSU went 13-19 in 2008-09 and returns seven lettermen from that team, including two starters. The Eagles were 9-7 and tied for third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Head coach Ron 'Fang' Mitchell is in his 24th season at the helm of CSU and picked up career victory No. 600 on Nov. 14 vs. West Virginia Tech. The Eagles are 4-1 this season with wins over Lincoln (Pa.), WVT, Columbia Union and Maryland-Baltimore County, with a loss at Colorado. Coppin State's top scorer is sophomore Lenny Young who is averaging 14.8 points per game.
LIONS ROAR BACK AGAINST USC -- LMU outscored USC 31-13 down the stretch including 9-1 in the final three minutes to defeat the Trojans 67-59 at the Galen Center on Nov. 21. USC held a 46-36 advantage with 14:33 to go in the game when forward Kasey Cunningham suffered a left knee injury and had to leave the game. USC was 4-for-13 with seven turnovers after the Cunningham injury, while LMU went 9-for-17 with four 3-pointers made. USC led 33-25 at halftime, but shot just 34.8 percent in the second half, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. The depleted Trojans used just six players in a game for the first time since Feb. 17, 2008 vs. UCLA. Nikola Vucevic lead USC with his first career double-double, registering new career highs with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
CUNNINGHAM SUFFERS TORN ACL -- USC forward Kasey Cunningham suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus tear in his left knee in the game on Nov. 21 and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Cunningham has already had three surgeries on his left ACL, the last one coming on Nov. 26, 2008. Cunningham has played in a total of 15 games (5 starts) since arriving at USC for the 2006-07 season.
ON DECK -- USC will host Nebraska at the Galen Center on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m. as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. Nebraska is 3-1 this season with wins over South Carolina-Upstate, TCU and UMKC and a loss at Saint Louis. They have been led in scoring by senior guard Sek Henry (11.8 ppg) and redshirt freshman center Jorge Brian Diaz (10.3 ppg). The Cornhuskers were 18-13 last season, but lost nine players and return only one starter. USC leads the all-time series with Nebraska 5-1. The teams last played on Dec. 23, 1992 and the Trojans defeated the Cornhuskers 74-64 and drop them from the ranks of the unbeaten (7-1).
SURPRISINGLY SLOW STARTS -- USC is 1-1 this season and has only managed to win its first two games (or more) five times in the last 21 seasons despite winning an average of 17 games per season in the previous 20 seasons.
SIZZLING SIMMONS -- Junior guard Marcus Simmons have averaged 14.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in USC's first two games. He has accomplished that by hitting 71.4 percent of his shots from the field (10-for-14) and 88.9 percent of his free throw attempts (8-for-9). He entered this week's play second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and third in free throw percentage.
NIKOLA THE NATURAL -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic set career highs in points (19) and rebounds (11) for his first career double-double in the loss vs. LMU on Nov. 21. Through USC's first two games he is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman. He has shown an all-around game, making 55.6 percent of his shots from the field, 77.8 percent from the free throw line, while ranking second on the team with five assists and two steals.
HE'S BAAACK...! -- USC redshirt senior guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, stepped in an had an immediate impact for the Trojans in the final semester last season. Since then, he was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA, but had to sit out the first two games of this season due to playing in an exhibition game at UConn in 2007-08. Johnson appeared in 16 games for USC in 2008-09 and averaged 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds. He brought leadership and a variety of intangibles to the team and they responded with a 13-4 record in games that he was available to play. He also missed seven games with a right rotator cuff strain and the Trojans went 1-6 while he was out of the lineup.
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,080 career points, good for 30th all-time at USC and five points behind Paul Westphal (1970-72) who is in 29th place with 1,085 points. Lewis entered the season fifth among returning Pac-10 players in career points. He also ranks 15th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 109 which ranks eighth among returning conference players. Lewis led USC with a 14.4 scoring average in 2008-09, as well in three-point baskets (55) and free throw shooting (74.8 percent). He reached double figures in scoring in 27 of his 33 games last season, scoring a career-high 26 twice (vs. San Francisco on Dec. 1 and at Oregon on Jan. 2). He scored 22 points in his first game this season and has had 10 career 20-point games.