USC To Play First Road Game At No. 2 Texas
Dec. 1, 2009
AUSTIN, TEXAS. -- The USC Trojans (2-2) will face the No. 2 ranked Texas Longhorns (5-0) on Dec. 3 in Austin, Texas at 6:00 p.m. (PT). The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla calling the action and will be shown on a delayed basis on USCTrojans.com. It will also air live on USC radio flagship station ESPN Radio 710 AM with Rory Markas and Jim Hefner calling the action. The game is part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS -- The Longhorns are 5-0 after a 77-59 victory at Rice on Nov. 29. Texas is led by Damion James who is averaging 15.4 points and 10.2 rebounds, but has had five players in double figures in three of its first five games. The Longhorns have won by an average of 27.6 points this season (80.4-52.8). Texas is shooting 52.0 percent from the field and has averaged 10 more rebounds per game than its opponents. USC leads the all-time series with Texas 5-4, winning the last meeting 87-68 on March 18, 2007 in a second-round NCAA Tournament game.
NEBRASKA GETS FINAL CUT IN NIP-TUCK GAME -- Nebraska's Eshaunte Jones nailed his only three-point attempt of the game with 11 seconds left to lift the Cornhuskers to a 51-48 victory over USC at the Galen Center on Nov. 29. The game featured 20 lead changes and neither team taking more than a 4 point advantage. Alex Stepheson led USC with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. USC committed 17 turnovers and was held to 38.5 percent shooting.
ON DECK -- USC will next play at No. 27/No. 23 Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 5 in a 3 p.m. (PT) game. The game will be carried live on Fox Sports South. Georgia Tech is 4-1 and will host Siena on Dec. 2 before taking on USC. Forward Gani Lawal leads Georgia Tech with an average of 15.0 points and 11.4 rebounds. The Trojans and Yellow Jackets have met twice before with USC winning 76-57 last year at the Galen Center and falling in an NCAA second-round game 79-78 on March 21, 1992.
TROJANS EYE SMOOTHER ROAD -- USC was 2-8 in road games during the 2008-09 season, losing its last five. USC faces a tough first road trip this season as they travel to No. 2 Texas on Dec. 3 and to No. 27/No. 23 Georgia Tech on Dec. 5.
THAT'S WHO THAT IS... -- After having to sit on the sidelines for the last year and two games upon transferring from UNC (transfer waiver denied by the NCAA) and then suffering a left knee injury, forward Alex Stepheson finally saw his first action as a Trojan vs. Coppin State on Nov. 27 and immediately made his presence felt. He scored a career-high 13 points, had nine rebounds, dished out three assists and swatted a layup attempt to near midcourt. In his second game on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska, he also scored 13 points and had a career-best 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
NIKOLA THE NATURAL -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic set career highs in points (19) and rebounds (11) for his first career double-double vs. LMU on Nov. 21. He followed that game up with a new career-high in rebounds with 12 and scored 15 points vs. CSU on Nov. 27 for his second double-double. Through four games he is averaging 14.3 points and 10.5 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season.
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. In his first game on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. He then had 10 points and 5 rebounds vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29. USC is 14-5 in games he has been available to play in the last two seasons.
SIMMONS' SUMMER SHOOTING SPREE -- Junior guard Marcus Simmons has averaged 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in USC's first four games. He developed into USC's defensive stopper role late last season and spent the summer working on his offense, including shooting until he made 1,000 shots a day...that is until his wrist started hurting and he had to back off some. It seems to have worked, though, as he is shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.
DONTE'S INFERNO -- Junior guard Donte Smith has been on fire from the field, making 55.6 percent of his shots, including 53.3 percent (8-for-15) of his three-pointers which ranks fifth among Pac-10 players. In the game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29, Smith was 4-for-4 from the field, including hitting two three-pointers. His eight three-pointers lead USC and are four fewer than he had all last season.
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,096 career points, good for 29th all-time at USC, 11 points ahead of Paul Westphal (1970-72) and 6 behind Gabe Pruitt (2005-07) who is in 28th place with 1,102 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 111 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.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 55 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (139 games), including two this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 70 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 139 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and once so far this season (Nebraska). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 88 of the last 109 games.
WINNING THE BOARD GAMES -- USC outrebounded the opposition last season in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by ORU on Dec. 29 and had a rebounding edge in 27 of 35 games. USC is 2-1-1 in the rebound battle this season and outrebounded Coppin State and Nebraska in the last two games 79-47.