No. 25 USC To Play At California Saturday To End First-Half Pac-10 Play
Jan. 26, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (15-6, 5-3) will take on California (12-8, 4-4) on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. USC is 10-4 in its last 14 games. USC's 5-3 conference record is its best start since beginning the 2002 Pac-10 conference slate at 6-2. USC is currently ranked No. 25 in the AP poll, the first time the school has been ranked in the top 25 in basketball since the end of the 2002 season.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA -- The Bears are coming off a 62-46 loss vs. UCLA on Jan. 25. California is led in scoring by forward Ryan Anderson who is averaging 17.1 points per game. USC trails in the all-time series vs. the Bears 124-113 and is 2-8 in the last 10 games at California. The Bears beat the Trojans three times last season, including 71-60 at Haas Pavilion.
TROJANS SWATTED BY STANFORD -- USC had a school-record 19 shot attempts blocked and Stanford held the Trojans to a season low in points in a 65-50 loss at Palo Alto on Jan. 25. Nick Young led USC with 13 points. Stanford's Brook Lopez had a triple-double, scoring 18 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking a Cardinal-record and USC opponent-record 12 shots.
OREGON STATE ON DECK -- The Trojans next game will be on Feb. 1 at the Galen Center vs. Oregon State at 7:30 p.m. USC defeated the Beavers 91-46 in Corvallis, Ore. on Jan. 6. Lodrick Stewart was 6-for-6 from three-point range and scored a career-high 28 points in the game, USC's most lopsided victory over Oregon State in the history of the series. The Trojans have won the last four games against the Beavers and lead in the all-time series 62-54.
TAKING A DEFENSIVE STAND -- USC has held 18 of 21 opponents to 40.4 percent or less from the floor and 16 of 21 under 40 percent shooting. Stanford shot an opponent season-high 48.1percent on Thursday. USC has held the opposition under 40 percent shooting in 26 of the 51 games Tim Floyd has been the head coach (51.0 percent), whereas in the previous two seasons, they accomplished the feat 8 times in 57 games (14 percent). USC has held the opposition to a 35.9 shooting percentage, tied for second best in the country.
RISING UP THROUGH THE RANKS -- Five of USC's seven games from Dec. 23-Jan. 18 were against ranked opponents and the Trojans went 4-1 in those games. For the season, USC has played six ranked opponents and has a 4-2 record in those games. The four wins USC has against Top 25 teams are the most in a season since beating six ranked opponents during the 2002 season.
YOUNG NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Junior swingman Nick Young was named U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for Jan. 15-21, as he led USC to a sweep of the Arizona schools. Young averaged 24 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two games, including scoring 30 points in the 80-73 win over then No. 11 Arizona on Jan. 18.
FLOYD OFF TO GREAT START -- USC head coach Tim Floyd has a 32-19 record in his first 51 games at the helm for the Trojans. To date, he has guided USC to more victories in his first two seasons as a head coach than all but two USC coaches in their first two seasons:
1st yr. 2nd yr. Total Pct. Leo Calland (1928-29) 22-4 16-6 38-10 .792 Forrest Twogood (1951-52) 21-6 16-14 37-20 .649 Tim Floyd (2006-07) 17-13 15-5 32-19 .627
IN TIM WE TRUST -- The arrival of head coach Tim Floyd brought great excitement to the USC campus and with good reason. Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 18 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 275-149 record in his 14 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-06). His record at USC is 32-19. Eight of his first 13 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (5 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 10 players in his 13 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
MAKING THEIR SHOTS COUNT -- USC is shooting .473 from the field this season (529-for-1119). The last time USC finished a season with a better percentage was in 1991 when they shot .477 from the field for the school's eighth-best field goal percentage season.
GIBSON AND FLOYD GET ACCOLADES -- Taj Gibson was selected as the Player of the Week (Jan. 1-7) by ESPN.com and TheSportingNews.com. He scored 18 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked seven shots in an 84-82 win at previously unbeaten Oregon, then scored 20 points in the 91-46 win at Oregon State. Head coach Tim Floyd was named Coach of the Week on Dick Vitale's website.
HOLDING THEM DOWN WITH 'D' -- USC has held 10 opponents to under 60 points this season. It is the most games in a season that the Trojans have held the opposition to 59 points or less since accomplishing the feat 13 times in 1987.
HOW GOOD HAS GIBSON BEEN? -- On Jan. 4 at Oregon freshman Taj Gibson picked up his eight double-double of the season (tied for 1st in the Pac-10) with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. Already, he has cracked the all-time USC freshman season top 10s in rebounds (3rd with 190), free throws attempted (4th with 93) and blocks (1st with 44). He also is on a pace to set the school freshman field goal percentage record (.614) and his 9.0 rebounds per game average is second best all-time as a freshman at USC to Cliff Robinson's 9.6 in 1978.
GIBSON SET THE SCHOOL FRESHMAN BLOCKS RECORD - Lost among the many blocks at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 25 was that USC freshman Taj Gibson swatted three more shots to give him a season total of 44 blocks, the most ever by a USC freshman. The previous school record for blocks by a freshman was 43 by Ken Johnson in 1982.
HACKETT MONEY FROM THE LINE -- Freshman Daniel Hackett has hit 60 of 69 free throws this season for a 87.0 percentage, third best in the Pac-10.
THE SECOND CENTURY OF HOOPS AT USC -- The Trojans are beginning their second century of intercollegiate basketball and have a 1,407-1,010 record. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 71 of the first 100 seasons.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME -- USC's loss to Washington State on Dec. 30 snapped a nine-game home winning streak, following the season-opening overtime loss to South Carolina on Nov. 16. The last time USC won more consecutive home games in a season was during the 2000-01 campaign when it won the first 10. USC is 11-3 at the Galen Center this season with the losses being an overtime loss (South Carolina) and two games in which the Trojans led with five seconds left in the game (Washington State and UCLA).
PAC-10 PRESEASON RANKINGS -- The Trojans were picked to finish in sixth place in the Pac-10 conference this season, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's basketball. UCLA was picked to win the conference with 335 votes, followed by Arizona (280), Washington (236), Oregon (193), California (177), USC (160), Stanford (127), Oregon State (75), Arizona State (69) and Washington State (54). Last season, USC was a preseason No. 8 pick and they finished sixth.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD -- Following today's game, USC returns home to begin the second half of the Pac-10 Conference schedule against the Oregon schools. After that, USC will have two home games and five road games left. Making things even tougher is that four of the final eight games of the season are against teams that are currently ranked.
INJURY UPDATES -- Freshman forward Kasey Cunningham is recovering from left knee surgery (ACL). He is expected to redshirt this season.
PRUITT BACK ON TRACK -- All-Pac-10 guard Gabe Pruitt played in his first game on Dec. 22 following a semester of academic ineligibility, but was a combined 0-6 from the field with two points in his first two games. He has started the eight games since then and shined. He scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out a game-high six assists and had a steal on Dec. 28 vs. Washington. In his eight starts, he has averaged 11.9 points (95 total), 3.5 assists (28 total), 1.4 steals (11 total) and 2.8 rebounds (22 total).
TROJAN TAKING STOCK IN THE BLOCK -- USC has 89 blocks in the first 21 games, including a season-high nine blocks in the game on Jan. 4 at Oregon. The 89 total blocks leads all Pac-10 teams. Taj Gibson leads the Trojans and is tied for the Pac-10 lead with 44 blocks, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye has 12 and sophomore RouSean Cromwell has 10. Gibson had seven blocks on Jan. 4 at Oregon, tying him for the fourth best single-game total by a Trojan.
GIBSON MAKING SUDDEN IMPACT -- Trojan freshman forward Taj Gibson had 18 rebounds on Nov. 24 vs. Long Beach State, the most by a Trojan since Jeff McMillan also had 18 rebounds on Feb. 25, 2004 vs. UCLA and the most by a Pac-10 player this season. The last Trojan with more rebounds in a game was David Bluthenthal who tied the school record with 28 on Jan. 20, 2000 vs. Arizona State. Bluthenthal tied Cliff Robinson's school and freshman record of 28 rebounds set on Jan. 20, 1978 vs. Portland State. Gibson has eight double-doubles (points-rebounds) in his first 21 games, tied for the most among conference players. Gibson was held to five points vs. LMU, snapping his streak of scoring in double figures at five games, the first USC freshman to score in double digits in his first five collegiate games since Tom Lewis during the 1985-86 season (first nine games). He has reached double figures in scoring in 17 of 21 games.
THAT'S A LOD OF POINTS -- Senior Lodrick Stewart reached the 1,000 points scored mark on Nov. 24 against Long Beach when he made a layup two minutes into the second half. He finished that night with 16 points. He currently has 1,238 career points, ranking him 16th all-time on USC's scoring list and second among active career scorers in the Pac-10. He poured in a career-high 28 on Jan. 6 at OSU.
STEWART SETS SCHOOL RECORD -- Lodrick Stewart made all six three-point shots he attempted on Jan. 6 at Oregon State, the most three-pointers made in a single game by a Trojan with out a miss. The previous best by a USC player had been five by Brad Winslow (1987) and Errick Craven (2002). The six shots made from beyond the arc tied his career best set on Dec. 2 this season vs. LMU. He is 46-for-104 from beyond the arc on the season (.442) and has a career three-point shooting percentage of .395 (201-for-509).
THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC was outrebounded 45-33 on Jan. 25, but has outrebounded nine of its 21 opponents. Last season USC outrebounded the opposition in just eight of 30 games. The Trojans had 47 rebounds in the opener (most since getting 50 in the 2005-06 opener) and 40 in their second game, the first time USC had recorded back-to-back games of 40 or more rebounds since Dec. 3 and Dec. 6, 2003. The 58 rebounds USC collected on Nov. 24 vs. LBSU were its most in a game since also grabbing 58 boards on Feb. 27, 1997 vs. Oregon. USC has five games of 40 or more rebounds this year and had just six all of last season.
SOMETIMES TWO CAN BE BETTER THAN THREE -- USC averaged 19 three-pointers per game last season and took a conference-high 20.4 per Pac-10 game in 2005-06. USC is averaging just 12.6 three-point shots per game this season, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Last season when USC took 15 or less shots from behind the arc, they were 8-1 and are 13-3 this season. USC is 2-3 this season when taking more than 15 three-point shots in a game.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC has held its opponents to 29.8 percent shooting from three-point range this season (134-for-450).
FORTIFIED BY FRESHMEN -- The Trojan freshman are playing a big role for USC. First-year players Taj Gibson (21), Daniel Hackett (13), Dwight Lewis (5) and Kevin Galloway (1) have all started this season. Gibson leads the team in rebounding (9.0) and is third in scoring (12.9). The Trojans have six freshmen on the squad (one redshirting) and they have combined to score 38.6 percent of USC's points and have played 43.9 percent of the team's minutes.
N0THING FOUL ABOUT THIS SHOOTING -- The Trojans hit 33 of 38 foul shots (86.8 percent) on Dec. 9 vs. George Washington. It was the team's best percentage in a game since making 87.0 percent vs. Washington on March 6, 2003 and the most made free throws in a game since also making 33 on Jan. 20, 2000 vs. Arizona State. USC has made 70.9 percent of its free throws this season. USC has shot better than 70 percent from the free throw line just one season (2001) in the last 20 years.
HOW RARE WAS THAT COMEBACK? -- USC's comeback from a 20-point deficit in the second half (38-18) to win 74-65 vs. George Washington at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Dec. 9 was the biggest since also staging a 20-point second-half comeback vs. BYU (down 23-43) on Dec. 23, 2000 to win 70-67. It was just the third time in the last 15 seasons that USC came back from a 20-point deficit to win, the other being Dec. 7, 1996 at UNC Charlotte.
YOUNG SHOOTING UP THE CHARTS -- Junior swingman Nick Young's tip-in one minute into the game on Dec. 19 vs. Longwood was his 1,000th career point, the 31st Trojan to reach the 1,000 career points scored plateau. Young joined teammate Lodrick Stewart who eclipsed the 1,000 career points total on Nov. 24 vs. Long Beach State. He now has scored 1,195 career points to rank 19th on USC's all-time list, nine points behind Maurice Williams (1979-82). Young is shooting 56.1 percent from the field over the last 13 games (92-for-164), including 16-for-34 from three-point range (.471).
TURNING AROUND THE TURNOVERS -- USC has had more assists that turnovers in four of the last nine games after accomplishing that feat once in the first 12 games. In the last nine games, USC has 103 assists and 94 turnovers, but the total for the season is 260 assists and 342 turnovers. USC has averaged 10.4 turnovers per game in the last nine, after averaging 19.8 in the first 12 games.