USC Faces Washington State Saturday In Pullman
Feb. 19, 2010
PULLMAN, WASH. -- The USC Trojans (16-9, 8-5) will face the Washington State Cougars (15-11, 5-9) on Feb. 20 in Pullman, Wash. at 2:00 p.m. The game will not be televised. It will air live on USC radio flagship station ESPN Radio 710 AM, broadcast by Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner. USC has won four consecutive regular season Pac-10 games for only the second time in the last eight seasons (2008). USC last won five conference games in a row in the 2000 season.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS -- Washington State is coming off a 71-51 home loss to UCLA on Feb. 18. Since winning 67-60 vs. USC at the Galen Center on Jan. 21, the Cougars have dropped six of seven games. Washington State is led by Klay Thompson who averages 20.8 points per game, second among conference players. USC leads the all-time series 66-42, but is 1-5 in the last six games at Pullman, winning 46-44 last season.
TROJANS GET BIG ROAD WIN IN SEATTLE -- Dwight Lewis scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half, Mike Gerrity added six key points in the closing minutes and USC held off a furious rally by Washington in the final nine minutes for a 67-64 win on Feb. 18 in Seattle, Wash. Down by 16 with nine minutes left, Washington suddenly got hot, closing to within 61-60 on Venoy Overton's driving basket with 1:25 left. But Gerrity answered with a layup of his own, then clinched the victory with a fallaway 12-footer with 15 seconds left. Gerrity finished with 12 points, all in the second half. It was just the second home loss all season for Washington (16-2).
DUCKS ON DECK -- The Oregon Ducks (12-13, 4-9) will host California on Feb. 20 before traveling to Los Angeles to face USC at the Galen Center on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Oregon defeated USC 67-57 on Jan. 30 in Eugene, Ore., but USC leads the all-time series 62-43. Oregon is led in scoring by guards Malcolm Armstead (11.2) and Tajuan Porter (10.9) and center Michael Dunigan (9.9).
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game having allowed 1416 points in its first 25 games (56.6 ppg), its fewest through 25 games since allowing 1294 points in the first 25 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is fourth in the country in points allowed per game at 56.6. 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 14 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). The last time USC had just two games of allowing more than 67 points in a game was the 1949 season.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS -- Nikola Vucevic has led USC in rebounding for eight consecutive games (10.9 per game) and has grabbed seven or more boards in all but two games this season. Vucevic's 244 rebounds this season rank eighth all-time by a Trojan sophomore and he is just six rebounds away from moving into fourth place and 16 away from third place.
WASHINGTON FILLING THE STAT LINES -- Leonard Washington has been key for USC coming off the bench. In his last six games, he has averaged 7.2 points (43 total) and 5.0 rebounds (30 total), while chipping in with seven steals, four assists and three blocks. He has made 17 of his last 31 shots (54.8 percent).
TAKING NOTE... -- USC is 12-1 when taking more FTs than its opponents...In Pac-10 games, USC is the only team with all losses by 10 points or less...USC has led or been tied in the 2nd half in all 13 Pac-10 games...in USC's five Pac-10 losses, it has committed 102 fouls, while the opponent only 60...USC is 10-1 in games it scores 60 or more points...USC is 7-1 vs. the top six teams in the Pac-10 and 1-4 against the current bottom four in the standings.
STEPHESON DERAILED BY CONTACTS ISSUE -- Alex Stepheson was limited to 10 minutes at Washington due to issues with his contacts. On Feb. 4 vs. California, he had 10 points, 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in 20 minutes of action. In 23 games this season, he has averaged 8.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He has six or more rebounds in 16 of 23 games and is second among Pac-10 players with an average of 3.3 offensive rebounds per game. 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 after more than a year away from competition on Nov. 27 vs. Coppin State, then registered his first career double-double on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska with 13 points and a then career-best 12 rebounds.
GERRITY PROVIDES CLARITY -- Senior Mike Gerrity has played 17 games and led USC to an 12-5 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 9.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds in his first 17 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 62 assists and 33 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio. He has had eight games of one turnover or less and has 43 assists and 18 turnovers in the last 12 games. His 2.0-1 turnover-assist ratio in Pac-10 games is second best in the conference. He hit a career-high 3 three-pointers, two with under 2 minutes left to help USC defeat Cal on Feb. 4.
WASHINGTON PROVIDES INSTANT ENERGY -- 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 15 games back, Washington has averaged 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and has 10 blocks and 18 steals. His 17 steals in Pac-10 games are tied for seventh-best in the conference. 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. His high game this season is 11 points at Oregon State on Jan. 28. He had eight rebounds and eight points vs. Washington on Feb. 18.
BIG TIME LEWIS RISING UP SCORING LISTS -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,397 career points, 13th all-time at USC and 26 points behind John Block (1964-66) who is 12th with 1,423. Lewis ranks 10th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 141 makes. 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 seven 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 Cal on Jan. 9, 24 at UCLA on Jan. 16, 23 vs. UCLA on Feb. 14 and 22 at Washington on Feb. 18) and has had 16 career 20-point games. Lewis has averaged 16.5 points in his last 11 games (181 points).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 67 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (160 games), including 14 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 83 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 160 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and eight times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT, WMU, Stanford, Cal, WSU, Oregon). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 102 of the last 130 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 37.9 shooting percentage, best in the Pac-10 and ninth in the country.
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic is tied for first in the Pac-10 this season with 10 double-doubles, his last being a 13-point, 10 rebound effort at Washington on Feb. 18. He collected his 9th with 18-points and 14-rebound vs. Stanford on Feb. 6 and has five double-doubles in his last seven games. 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 9.8 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.8 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 28-12 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 34 steals and is third in rebounds with 105 and blocks with 12. He has scored in double figures 12 times this season. Tied a career high with 5 steals vs. UCLA on Feb. 14