USC Plays At Arizona State On Sunday Looking For First Sweep In The Desert Since 1985
Feb. 17, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 22 USC men's basketball team (19-7, 9-4) will face Arizona State (6-19, 0-14) on Feb. 18 at 6:00 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. USC is 14-5 in its last 19 games. The Trojans' 9-4 conference record is their best start since also beginning the 2002 Pac-10 conference slate at 9-4. The Trojans are in third-place in the highly-contested Pac-10, one loss behind Washington State and two behind UCLA.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE -- Arizona State is coming off a tough 67-61 loss at home to No. 5 UCLA on Feb. 15. USC defeated the Sun Devils 58-49 on Jan. 20 at the Galen Center and has won five of its last six against Arizona State. The Sun Devils are led in scoring by Christian Polk, who is averaging 12.6 points per game. Despite the 0-14 record in conference, ASU has lost seven of the games by six points or less, including the last five.
JUST ANOTHER VICTORY IN TUCSON -- No. 22 USC defeated No. 19 Arizona 80-75 on Feb. 15 in Tucson, Ariz., snapping a 21-game losing streak by the Trojans at the McKale Center. The trio of Nick Young (26), Lodrick Stewart (26) and Gabe Pruitt (17) combined to score 69 of the Trojans' 80 points in the game. Despite Arizona being just the second team to shoot 50 percent from the field against USC this season, USC rallied from a 38-35 halftime deficit and a seven-point (62-55) second-half deficit. The win was USC's third consecutive against Arizona, the Trojans' longest against the Wildcats since a seven-game winning streak during the 1981-84 seasons. USC's last win in Tucson was on Jan. 17, 1985 (64-63).
STANFORD ON DECK -- The Trojans next game will be at the Galen Center against Stanford (16-8, 8-5) on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Stanford is coming off a 70-55 vs. Oregon State on Feb. 15 and will host No. 15 Oregon on Feb. 17 before making the trip to Los Angeles. The Cardinal defeated USC 65-50 on Jan. 25 at Pal Alto, Calif. when Stanford set a USC opponent record with 19 blocked shots, including a record 12 by freshman Brook Lopez. Lawrence Hill led Stanford through 24 games with a 16.1 average.
TAKING A DEFENSIVE STAND -- Arizona hit 50 percent of its shots against USC on Feb. 15, joining California (51.9 on Jan. 27) as the only two schools to shoot 50 percent or better against the Trojans this season. Still, USC has held 20 of 26 opponents to 41.4 percent or less from the floor and 17 of 26 under 40 percent shooting. USC has held the opposition under 40 percent shooting in 27 of the 56 games Tim Floyd has been the head coach (48.2 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 37.5 shooting percentage, third best in the country (as of 2/15).
RISING UP THROUGH THE RANKS -- With the win at No. 19 Arizona on Feb. 15, USC improved to 6-3 vs. ranked opponents this season. The six wins USC has against Top 25 teams are the most in a season since also beating six ranked opponents during the 2002 season.
TROJANS DOING ROAD WORK -- USC is 1-1 in a stretch that will see it play five of its final seven games on the road. USC is 4-3 in road games this season. After this game at Arizona State, USC will host Stanford and California before traveling to Washington to take on Washington (15-2 at home) and Washington State (12-1 at home).
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 279-150 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 36-20. 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.
FLOYD OFF TO GREAT START -- USC head coach Tim Floyd has a 36-20 record in his first 56 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 19-7 36-20 .643
MAKING THEIR SHOTS COUNT -- USC is shooting .485 from the field this season (665-for-1371). The last time USC finished a season with a higher shooting percentage was in 1985 when it had a .487 shooting percentage and the 2007 team's percentage currently is fifth best in school history. USC has outshot the opponent in terms of percentage in 24 of the 26 games (not vs. South Carolina and at Stanford). USC has also shot better than 50 percent in a game 11 times, while allowing the opposition to shoot 50 percent or better just twice.
HOLDING THEM DOWN WITH 'D' -- USC has held 11 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 eighth double-double of the season (2nd most 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 216), free throws attempted (3rd with 111), free throws made (3rd with 66), points (9th with 318) and blocks (1st with 50). He also is on a pace to set the school freshman field goal percentage record (.597) and his 8.3 rebounds per game average is second best all-time as a freshman at USC to Cliff Robinson's 9.6 in 1978.
HACKETT MONEY FROM THE LINE -- Freshman Daniel Hackett has hit 66 of 78 free throws this season for a 84.6 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 1,411-1,011 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 13-3 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.
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 13 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 13 starts, he has averaged 12.3 points (160 total), 3.8 assists (50 total), 1.5 steals (20 total) and 2.5 rebounds (32 total).
BLOCK PARTY LEADS TO TOP 10 -- USC had eight blocks in the 71-68 win vs. Oregon on Feb. 3, including three staight in a 28 second stretch after the Trojans had taken a 63-60 lead. USC had a season-high nine blocks in the game on Jan. 4 at Oregon. USC's total of 107 blocks this season ranks 9th in school history. The 107 total blocks is third among Pac-10 teams. Taj Gibson leads the Trojans and is second among Pac-10 players with 50 blocks, senior Abdoulaye N'diaye has 15 and sophomore RouSean Cromwell has 12. 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 third 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 26 games. He scored in double figures in his first 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 19 of 26 games, but is coming off a season low of two points.
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 2 minutes into the second half. He finished that night with 16 points. He currently has 1,321 career points, ranking him 12th 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 56-for-127 from beyond the arc on the season (.441) and has a career three-point shooting percentage of .397 (211-for-532).
THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC was outrebounded 37-29 at Arizona on Feb. 15, but has outrebounded 11 of its 26 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.
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 12.9 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 15-4 this season. USC is 4-3 this season when taking more than 15 three-point shots in a game. In Pac-10 games, USC is tops hitting a sizzling 43.4 percent of its threes.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC has held its opponents to 29.7 percent shooting from three-point range this season (166-for-559), best among Pac-10 teams.
FORTIFIED BY FRESHMEN -- The Trojan freshman are playing a big role for USC. First-year players Taj Gibson (26), Daniel Hackett (13), Dwight Lewis (10) and Kevin Galloway (1) have all started this season. Gibson leads the team in rebounding (8.3) and is third in scoring (12.2). The Trojans have six freshmen on the squad (one redshirting) and they have combined to score 37.0 percent of USC's points and have played 42.8 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 70.6 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. USC is 14-for-24 in the last two games.
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 1,292 career points to rank 15th on USC's all-time list, 21 points behind David Bluthenthal. He has reached double figures in points in his last 14 games and in 23 of 26 games this season. In the last eight games, Young has averaged 19.8 points (158 total).
TURNING AROUND THE TURNOVERS -- USC has had more assists than turnovers in six of the last 14 games after accomplishing that feat once in the first 12 games. In the last 14 games, USC has 169 assists and 158 turnovers, but the total for the season is 326 assists and 406 turnovers. USC has averaged 11.3 turnovers per game in the last 14, after averaging 19.8 in the first 12 games.
TROY'S TERRIFIC TRIO -- The Trojan trio of Nick Young, Lodrick Stewart and Gabe Pruitt combined for 69 points in the win at Arizona on Feb. 15. It was the fourth time in their careers that the trio combined for over 60 points in a game. They combined to score 64 vs. Arizona on Jan. 18, 2007, 63 vs. Arizona on Feb. 2, 2006 and 60 at Oregon on Jan. 28, 2006.
RARIFIED AIR FOR USC -- The Trojans have 19 wins, just the eighth time they have reached that victory plateau in the last 33 seasons. USC has recorded 20 wins four times in the last 33 years. USC has achieve 20 wins in a season 15 times in school history.
YOUNG'S SECOND HALF SURGES -- Perhaps the hottest Trojan in the second half of games in Nick Young who has scored 243 of his 453 points this season after halftime and had averaged 9.3 points in the second halves of games. Young has scored in double figures in the second half of games 13 times this season. Young has made 69.0 percent of his shots in the second half of the last five games and averaged 10.8 points after the break in those contests.
SHARP-SHOOTING STEWART -- Senior guard Lodrick Stewart is fourth among conference players with a .441 shooting percentage from three-point range. He has been especially hot of late, hitting at a .509 clip (27-for-53) over USC's last 11 games.
HOW DOES GIBSON STACK UP AMONG THE OTHER PAC-10 FRESHMAN YOU ASK...? -- The Pac-10 has been getting recognition for all the quality freshmen coming into the league this season and their efforts can be seen up and down the conference leaders charts. Trojan Taj Gibson is sixth among Pac-10 freshman in points per game with 12.2, leads all freshmen with 8.3 rebounds per game (4th among all Pac-10 players), leads all freshmen in field goal percentage at .597 (tops among conference players) and is second in blocks by freshmen (2nd overall).
Points Rebounds FG Pct. BlocksAnderson (CAL) 16.8 Gibson (USC) 8.3 Gibson (USC) .597 R. Lopez (STAN) 61Budinger (UA) 15.9 Anderson (CAL) 8.2 Hawes (UW) .551 Gibson (USC) 50Hawes (UW) 15.1 R. Lopez (STAN) 6.2 Hawes (UW) 40Porter (ORE) 13.3 Budinger (UA) 5.9 B. Lopez (STAN) 38Polk (ASU) 12.6 Hawes (UW) 5.8 Hill (ARIZ) 23Gibson (USC) 12.2 B.Lopez (STAN) 5.4
TURNING THE DIAL -- The USC game on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Arizona State at 6 p.m. will be broadcast on Radio Disney 1110 AM and not the usual ESPN Radio AM 710 due to network obligations to carry the NBA All-Star game. The game will be televised on FSN.
GAME VS. THE CARDINAL PICKED UP -- The USC game vs. Stanford on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. has been selected for broadcast by FSN West.
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.
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.
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 bring his season total at the time to 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.
TROJANS NO STRANGER TO TIGHT CONTESTS -- USC is 5-3 in games decided by five points or less following the 80-75 win at Arizona on Feb. 15. The Trojans are also 5-2 in games decided by 6-10 points and have won 10 games decided by 10 points or less (10-5), tied for most among Pac-10 teams. Oregon is 10-4 in the close games with two of the losses coming at the hands of USC (2 points and 3 points).
A DEFENSIVE PERSPECTIVE -- Everyone knows by now that USC is holding opponents to a .375 field goal percentage, third best in the country. What you might not know is that the last time USC finished the season with a better field goal defense percentage was in 1960 when that held opponents to a .354 shooting percentage. The 2007 team's .375 percentage is tied for fourth best in USC history with the 1958 team.
PRUITT EYES 1,000 POINT CLUB -- Junior guard Gabe Pruitt is on pace to join teammates senior Lodrick Stewart and junior Nick Young in the 1,000 career points scored club. Pruitt has 940 points and is just 60 points away from becoming the 32nd Trojan in history and third this season to reach 1,000 career points.
N'DIAYE SWATS WAY TO TOP 10 -- With a block at Arizona on Feb. 15 at Arizona, Abdoulaye N'diaye now has 62 career blocks as a Trojan, 10th best in school history.