USC Makes Final Visit To McArthur Court In Eugene
Jan. 29, 2010
EUGENE, ORE. -- The USC Trojans (12-8, 4-4) will face the Oregon Ducks (11-9, 3-5) in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 30 at 3 p.m. to close out the first half of Pac-10 play. The game will be televised live on the Oregon Sports Network. The game will also be aired live on USC radio flagship station ESPN Radio 710 AM with Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner calling the action. USC is 2-4 in its last six games, following an eight-game winning streak.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS -- Oregon is coming off a 71-66 overtime win vs. UCLA on Jan. 28 which snapped a five-game losing streak. It will be USC's last game at McArthur Court as the Ducks will open Matthew Knight Arena next season. USC has won its last four games in Eugene and are 6-1 in its last seven games against the Ducks. Oregon is led in scoring by Tajuan Porter (12.7 ppg), Malcolm Armstead (11.1 ppg) and Michael Dunigan (10.9 ppg). USC leads the all-time series vs. Oregon, 62-42.
USC CAUGHT IN CORVALLIS -- USC jumped out to an early 17-7 lead, but Oregon State cut the deficit to five points at the half and took the lead for good at the 11:30 mark of the second half in a 51-45 loss for the Trojans in Corvallis, Ore. on Jan. 28. USC held the Beavers to just six first-half baskets, but the Trojans were called for 10 fouls (three on Alex Stepheson) which kept the game close. The Beavers made seven of their first 11 shots after the break, while USC hit just four of its first 14, to surge ahead 41-36. USC cut the lead to two points twice late in the game but could not forge a tie. Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and eight rebounds to lead USC.
GOLDEN BEARS ON DECK -- California (14-6, 6-2) will play at Arizona on Sunday, Jan. 31 before facing USC at the Galen Center on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. California is coming off a 78-70 win at Arizona State on Jan. 28, its fifth win in its last six game to take a one game lead over Arizona in the Pac-10 race. The Golden Bears are second in the conference in scoring average at 79.1 points per game. They are led in scoring by guards Jerome Randle (19.1 ppg) and Patrick Christopher (16.5 ppg). USC lost 67-59 at California on Jan. 9 and trail in the all-time series, 118-127.
REACHING THE TURN -- Today's game for USC marks the halfway point in conference games. USC will have played five road games and four home games in the first half. USC is scheduled to play five of its next seven games at the Galen Center, then will end with two games in Arizona.
LEWIS, THE ALL-TIME GAMER -- Dwight Lewis is about to become USC's all-time leader in games played as he enters today with 123 career games played, one behind Brandon Granville (124 G from 1999-02), USC's all-time leader. Lewis already ranks 14th on the school's scoring charts and should crack the top 10 in points scored. Also, he is tied for 10th place on USC's all-time three-pointers made list.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game having allowed 1109 points in its first 20 games (55.5 ppg), its fewest through 20 games since allowing 998 points in the first 20 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is fourth in the country in points allowed per game at 55.5. USC held 9 consecutive opponents to 56 points or less from Dec. 8-Jan. 6 (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 13 opponents to 56 points or less this season and only twice has allowed more than 67 points (69 at Texas and 79 at Georgia Tech).
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic has six double-doubles this season, tied for second in the Pac-10 entering this week's action. His last one was an 11-point, 13-rebound effort vs. Washington on Jan. 23. He matched a career high with 19 points at UCLA on Jan. 16 (9-for-12), scoring 17 points in the second half. 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, his first 19-point game 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 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.4 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND SENIOR SEASON -- USC 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 24-11 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 then USC high of 19 points and had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. He set a new career high with 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting vs. Washington on Jan. 23. Johnson leads USC with 27 steals and is third in rebounds with 87 and blocks with 11. He has scored in double figures 11 times and in six of the last nine games (12.2 ppg/110 total points).
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 18 games, he has averaged 10.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He has seven or more rebounds in 12 of 18 games.
GERRITY PROVIDES CLARITY -- Senior Mike Gerrity has played 12 games and led USC to an 8-4 record. In his first game after sitting out the first semester due to tranfer rules, he led USC to a 77-55 upset of then 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 9.1 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in his first 12 games. His 10 assists vs. Tennessee were the most by a Trojan since Daniel Hackett had 13 on Dec. 4, 2008 at Oklahoma. He has 48 assists and 23 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio. He has had seven games of one turnover or less and has 29 assists and eight turnovers in the last seven games. His 2.4-1 turnover-assist ratio is best in the Pac-10.
WASHINGTON WORTH THE WAIT -- 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 vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. He then scored nine points and had four rebounds and a block vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. In his first 10 games back, Washington has averaged 6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and has seven blocks and 12 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.
BIG TIME LEWIS RISING UP SCORING LISTS -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,319 career points, 14th all-time at USC and 22 points behind Lorenzo Orr (1992-95) who is 13th with 1,341. Lewis ranks tied for 10th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with with Anthony Pendleton(1988-89) at 133. Stais Boseman (1994-97) ranks 9th on USC's all-time three-point basket list with 145. 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 has five 20-point games this season (22 vs. UCR on Nov. 17, 21 vs. Tennesse on Dec. 19, 22 at Stanford on Jan. 6, 20 at California on Jan. 9 and 24 at UCLA on Jan. 16) and has had 14 career 20-point games. Lewis has averaged 17.2 points in his last six games (103 points) and made 39 of 84 shots (46.4 percent), despite scoring 5 points on 2-for-12 shooting in the game at Oregon State on Jan. 28..
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 66 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (155 games), including 13 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 80 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 155 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and seven times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT, WMU, Stanford, Cal & WSU). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 98 of the last 125 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. USC has held it opponents this season to a 37.3 shooting percentage, best in the Pac-10 and sixth in the country.