USC Plays Final Game of 2010 Season At Arizona On Saturday
March 5, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (16-13, 8-9) will play at the Arizona Wildcats (15-14, 9-8) on March 6 at 10:30 a.m. PT in Tucson, Ariz. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Arizona. It will air live on USC radio flagship station ESPN Radio 710 AM with Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner providing commentary. USC has lost four consecutive games after winning four in-a-row. Due to self-imposed sanctions this season, USC will be playing its final game.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS -- The Arizona Wildcats are coming off a come-from-behind 78-73 win vs. UCLA on March 4 in which Kyle Fogg scored 26 points. USC defeated Arizona 56-50 at the Galen Center on Dec. 31 to improve to 39-55 all-time vs. Arizona. USC has defeated Arizona two of the last three games (2007-08) at McKale Center, but the win in 2007 snapped a 21-game losing streak at Arizona. Freshman Derrick Williams leads Arizona in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg).
USC SHOT DOWN FROM LONG RANGE -- Arizona State hit an opponent season-high 11 three-pointers to hold off USC 59-54 on March 4 in Tempe, Ariz. ASU hit 52.4 percent of its three-point shots (11-for-21), yet made just six other shots (6-for-20). The Trojans outshot ASU 42.0 to 41.5 and made four more baskets, but could not overcome the hot-shooting from the outside by the Sun Devils. Rihards Kuksiks was 6-for-9 from beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 24 points. Marcus Simmons and Mike Gerrity had 11 points each for USC.
ON DECK...THE 2010-11 SEASON -- USC is tentatively scheduled to open the 2010-11 season at home vs. UC Irvine on November 13.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game allowing 56.2 points per game, fourth-best in the country and the Trojans' lowest per game average since allowing 51.3 in the 1951 season. USC held 9 consecutive teams to 56 points or less from Dec. 8-Jan. 6 (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 18 opponents to 56 points or less this season and only twice has allowed more than 67 points (69 at Texas & 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. USC's .380 defensive field goal percentage ranks fifth all-time by a Trojan team and the best since holding opponents to .354 shooting in 1960.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS -- Nikola Vucevic has led or tied for USC's lead in rebounding in 11 of USC's last 12 games and has grabbed seven or more boards in all but three games this season. Vucevic's 277 rebounds this season rank third all-time by a Trojan sophomore and he is eight rebounds away from passing Jaha Wilson (284 in 1995) and moving into second place. Eight rebounds would also move him to 11th place on USC's single-season rebound list. Vucevic's 9.6 rebounds per game are the most by a Trojan since Wilson averaged 10.1 in 1995.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN TODAY... -- With a win, Kevin O'Neill would tie for the third-most wins ever in a first full season by a USC head coach, tying Tim Floyd (17-13 in 2006) and Henry Bibby (17-11 in 1997)...USC would match last season's Pac-10 regular season record...With a loss, USC would end the season on a five-game losing streak, its longest to end a season since losing seven straight to end the 1996 season.
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 17 Pac-10 games...in USC's nine Pac-10 losses, it has committed 175 fouls, while the opponent only 110...USC is 10-1 in games it scores 60 or more points...USC is 15-3 when it has a higher shooting percentage than its opponent and 1-10 when outshot in a game...USC is 5-2 vs. teams .500 or better in conference and 3-7 vs. teams below .500 in the Pac-10.
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic is tied for second 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 10.9 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 and ranks 33rd nationally.
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 45.2 percent from the field and 70.0 percent from the free throw line this season compared to 37.9 percent (FG) and 50 percent (FT) last season. He scored 11 points at ASU on March 4, his most since also scoring 11 vs. LMU on Nov. 21.
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 19 games back, Washington has averaged 6.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and has 11 blocks and 23 steals. 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 and then eight points and four rebounds at Washington State on Feb. 20. Washington has been key for USC coming off the bench. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 6.9 points (69 total) and 5.0 rebounds (50 total), while chipping in with 12 steals, four assists and four blocks. He has made 29 of his last 53 shots (54.7 percent).
BIG TIME LEWIS RISING UP SCORING LISTS -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,439 career points, 11th on USC's all-time scoring list. Brian Scalabrine (1999-01) is 10th on USC's list with 1,441 career points. Lewis ranks 9th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 148 makes, eight behind Phil Glenn (1990-93) who ranks 8th with 156 makes. 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 14.9 points in his last 15 games (223 points). Lewis is second all-time in minutes played by a Trojan (4,025) and could pass Brandon Granville (4,043) to become the all-time USC leader.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 71 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (164 games), including 18 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 87 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 164 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and 11 times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT, WMU, Stanford, Cal, WSU-2, Oregon-2, OSU). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 103 of the last 134 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 38.0 shooting percentage, best in the Pac-10 and ninth in the country.