USC Heads To Stanford For First Pac-10 Road Game Of The Season
Jan. 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (10-4, 2-0) will face the Stanford Cardinal (6-7, 0-1) at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. The game will not be televised, but will air live on USC radio flagship sister stations KLAA 830 AM and KGIL 1260 AM with Rory Markas and Jim Hefner calling the action. USC has won eight consecutive games, the most since winning nine straight from Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2005. USC has begun Pac-10 play at 2-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 season when they started 5-0 in the conference.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL -- Stanford is 6-7 (0-1 in the conference) following a 92-66 loss at California on Jan. 2. The Cardinal have been led by senior Landry Fields who ranks second in the Pac-10 in both scoring (23.2) and rebounds (9.1) and has tied for or been Stanford's leading scorer in 11 games and rebounder in 12. USC has won four of the last six games vs. Stanford and owns a 118-117 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split their two games during the 2008-09 season. USC has lost its last seven games at Maples Pavilion.
USC DEFEATS ASU IN DEFENSIVE STRUGGLE -- Marcus Johnson and Mike Gerrity scored 12 points each and USC defeated Arizona State 47-37 on Jan. 2 at the Galen Center to win its first two Pac-10 games for the first time since 2001-02. ASU was held under 40 points for the first time since also scoring 37 vs. Minnesota at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 27, 1991. USC led 23-16 at halftime and ASU scored the first four points of the second half to cut the lead to three, but that was as close as they would get. USC held ASU to 24.4 percent shooting, while managing to win with only a 35.7 percent field goal percentage.
GOLDEN BEARS ON DECK -- California (9-4, 1-0) will face UCLA on Jan. 6 before hosting the Trojans on Jan. 9. The game will be televised on FSN with Barry Tompkins and Miles Simon calling the action. Cal, the Pac-10 preseason favorite, is 8-0 at home this season. The Bears are led by senior guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher who are averaging 19.6 and 16.2 points per game respectively. USC took two of three games from California last season, but trails in the all-time series 118-126. USC lost at California in overtime last season, 81-78.
TROJANS TOP DOGS ON DEFENSE -- USC enters the game having allowed 763 points in its first 14 games (54.5 ppg), its fewest through 14 games since allowing 693 points in the first 14 games of the 1950-51 season. The 54.5 points allowed per game by the Trojans leads the nation in scoring defense. USC has held its last eight opponents to 56 points or less and 10 times in 14 games this season.
SEEKING FIRST ROAD WIN -- USC is 0-2 on the road this season with losses at Texas and at Georgia Tech. USC was 2-8 in road games last season and dating back to the 2008-09 season have lost seven consecutive games on its opponents' home court. USC's last Pac-10 road game was a 75-63 setback at Stanford on Feb. 28 and the Trojans' fifth consecutive conference road loss.
USC ANNOUNCES SELF-IMPOSED SANCTIONS -- On Sunday, Jan. 3, USC announced self-imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program which includes a postseason ban this season and vacating all wins during the 2007-08 season. The complete release detailing all of the sanctions is on Page 4 of the notes.
MORE DOUBLE-DOUBLES THAN DOUBLE-D -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic already has five double-doubles in his first 14 games this season, tied for second in the Pac-10 and more than DeMar DeRozan had last year in his phenomenal freshman season. Vucevic had 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. Tennessee on Dec. 19 for his fifth double-double. He had 14 points and posted a career-high 15 rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. Sac. State, a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds vs. LMU on Nov. 21, 15 points and 12 rebounds vs. Coppin St. on Nov. 27 and 18 points and 14 rebounds at Texas on Dec. 3. He is averaging 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.6 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND SENIOR SEASON -- USC redshirt senior G/F Marcus Johnson, who played the second semester last season after transferring to USC from UConn, was granted another year of eligibilty by the NCAA following the season, but penalized two games for playing in an exhibition game in the 2007-08 season. USC is 22-7 in games he has been available to play in the two seasons. In his first game this season on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. Johnson scored his USC high of 19 points and had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. Johnson leads USC with 21 steals and is third in rebounds with 65 and blocks with nine.
SIMMONS' SUMMER SHOOTING SPREE -- Junior guard Marcus Simmons developed into USC's defensive stopper 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 43.9 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the free throw line this season compared to 37.9 percent (FG) and 50 percent (FT) last season.
SMITH STEPPING UP -- Junior guard Donte Smith has averaged 5.2 points through USC's first 14 games and leads USC with 12 three-pointers made (12-for-35, 34.3 percent), as many as he made all last season. In the game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29, Smith was 4-for-4 from the field, including hitting two three-pointers. Smith came off the bench to scored six big points down the stretch in USC's 55-51 win vs. Western Michigan on Dec. 22. He started at point guard the first eight games.
DEVELOPING A HOME COURT ADVANTAGE AT GALEN -- USC has a 47-12 record all-time at the Galen Center, including winning 26 of the last 30 home games.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2009-10 schedule features 12 games against teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last season and another 10 games against teams which were in either the NIT or CBI tournaments, meaning 22 of 30 games against teams that played in the 2009 postseason and 23 of 30 against teams that posted a .500 or better record. USC's opponents have a combined 125-69 record this season (64.4 winning percentage) through games of Jan. 4.
PAC-10 PREDICTIONS -- USC was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the league media. California was picked first, Washington second, UCLA third, Arizona fourth, Oregon State fifth, Oregon sixth, Arizona State seventh, Washington State eighth and Stanford 10th.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- USC has compiled a record of 1,469-1,046 in its 104 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. USC has had a .500 or better record in 74 of the first 103 seasons.
TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS -- USC ranked tied for No. 35 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and was unranked in the AP and CBSSportsline polls. They currently are ranked No. 33 by AP, tied for 44 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and 24th in the CBSSportsline Poll.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus tear in his left knee in the game on Nov. 21 and will miss the remainder of the season. Cunningham has played in a total of 15 games (5 starts) since arriving at USC for the 2006-07 season. Percy Miller has missed the last six games with a chronic AC joint sprain of the left shoulder.
GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT -- Alex Stepheson showed signs he is shaking off the rust of more than a year away from game action, as he scored a career-high 22 points at Georgia Tech on Dec. 5 and then had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 8 for his second career double-double. Stepheson then had his third career double-double vs. Idaho State on Dec. 11 with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. In the game vs. Tennessee on Dec. 19, Stepheson had 19 points and a new career high with 15 rebounds to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Dec. 14-20. He played in his first game as a Trojan on Nov. 27 vs. Coppin State and registered his first career double-double on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska with 13 points and a then career-best 12 rebounds. In his first 12 games, he has averaged 9.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
I LIKE MIKE -- What is not to like for Trojan fans as the senior has played six games, leading USC to a 77-55 upset of No. 9 Tennessee on Dec. 19 and then to the championship of the Diamond Head Classic while earning Tournament MVP honors. Gerrity scored 15 of his team-high 17 points after halftime to help USC to a 55-51 comeback victory over Western Michigan on Dec. 22. He followed that up with a team-high 17 points including hitting a key three-pointer late in the game in the semifinals win vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. In the finals vs. UNLV on Dec. 25, he had 13 points and three assists without a turnover against UNLV's tough press. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 21-27. Gerrity has averaged 12.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds in his first six games (all wins). His 10 assists vs. Tennessee were the most by a Trojan since Daniel Hackett had 13 on Dec. 4, 2008 at Oklahoma. He has 22 assists and 16 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio.
WASHINGTON RETURNS -- Sophomore forward Leonard Washington played in his first game of the season on Dec. 23 after missing the first semester with academic issues and had an immediate impact. He scored 10 points, had six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and an assist. He then scored nine points and had four rebounds and a block vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. In his first four games back, Washington has averaged 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and has five blocks and four steals. Washington was fifth in scoring for USC as a freshman with a 6.1 average in 30 games, 13 starts. He scored in double figures six times last season with a high of 17 vs. North Dakota State on Dec. 20, 2008.
LEWIS BREAKS INTO TOP 20 -- Senior Dwight Lewis from Metarie, La. has scored 1,216 career points, 19th all-time at USC and 31 points behind Purvis Miller (1978-81) who is in 18th place with 1,247. Lewis entered the season fifth among returning Pac-10 players in career points. He also ranks 14th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 117 which ranks eighth among returning conference players and two behind Adam Spanich (1998-99) who ranks 13th on USC's all-time list. 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 vs. UCR on Nov. 17 and 21 vs. Tennesse on Dec. 19 and has had 11 career 20-point games.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 63 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (149 games), including 10 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 77 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 149 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and four times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT & WMU). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 95 of the last 119 games. USC held Sac. State to 23.0 percent shooting on Dec. 8, the lowest percentage by a Trojan opponent since Loyola Marymount shot 22.4 percent from the field on Dec. 9, 1998. The last eight Trojan opponents have combined to make 30.6 percent (129-for-421) from the field.
PLAYING BOARD GAMES -- USC is 8-5-1 in the rebound battle this season and has a rebound advantage of 453-367 in the last 12 games.
CRAZY EIGHTS -- USC has held seven of its last eight opponents to eight field goals or less in the first half. In the last eight games, USC's opponents are shooting 28.1 percent (59-for-210) before halftime and have scored an average of 21.1 points (169 total in the 1st half).
DWIGHT IS DUE -- Senior Dwight Lewis ranks 14th all-time at USC with 117 three-point baskets, but has not scored from beyond the arc in five consecutive games (0-for-15), matching his longest career drought done Nov. 24-Dec. 9, 2006 during his freshman season. He has remained a constant scorer for USC, though, ranking third on the team with a 12.1 points per game average. Lewis has had two games with three made from beyond the 3-point line this season and had a career-best six 3-pointers on Feb. 12, 2009 at Arizona.
QUICK STARTS -- USC is 10-4 this season, matching last year's start. The 2008-09 team was 10-5 through 15 games. The last time USC had a better 14-game start was the 2006-07 season when it began 11-3 and was 11-4 through 15 games.
USC'S BLOCK'N NEW YEAR -- USC had six blocks in the first game of the new year on Jan. 2 vs. Arizona State. For the Trojans, it was the fifth game this season with six or more blocks and they have registered 49 swats in the last eight games (6.1 per game). USC had a school-record 13 blocks on Dec. 11 vs. Idaho State and had 12 blocks vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 8.
ENNIS ELIGIBLE FOR COMPETITION/WETHERELL LEAVES TEAM -- USC guard Korri Ennis has been determined eligible for competition by the NCAA Clearinghouse and will be in uniform for the first time on Jan. 6 at Stanford. Ennis is a 6-0, 180-pound redshirt sophomore guard. He played collegiately at UC Riverside as a freshman in 2007 (1.6 ppg/1.3 rpg), before transferring to Florida A&M where he did not compete. He transfered to USC last year and played on the scout team which practiced against the USC women's team. He earned a spot on USC's men's basketball team at the open tryout held on Oct. 17. He will now be wearing No. 23, not No. 34 which he was originally given. Redshirt junior guard Ryan Wetherell decided to leave the men's basketball team over the holidays. He appeared in three games this season for a total of six minutes, but did not score. Wetherell played limited minutes in 15 games in both his freshman and sophomore seasons and then redshirted last season with an eye injury.