USC To Host Pepperdine On Monday At The Galen Center
Dec. 12, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans (5-3) will face the Pepperdine Waves (1-7 plus a game Saturday vs. Pacific) on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. It will be the beginning of a four-game homestand for Troy, its longest of the season. The game will be shown live on Trojans All-Access, located at USCTrojans.com.
BREAKING DOWN THE WAVES -- Pepperdine started 1-7 and has a game on Dec. 13 vs. Pacific before facing USC. The Trojans lead the all-time series with the Waves 3-2, but lost the last time they met 78-77 on Dec. 6, 2001 at the Forum.
TROJANS FALL SHORT AT NO. 6 OKLAHOMA -- USC fought back from an 11-point second-half deficit to get within one point, but could not break through in a 73-72 loss at No. 6 Oklahoma on Dec. 4 in Norman, Okla. After trailing 48-37 early in the second half, the Trojans rallied to cut it to one point on five occacions, but each time the Sooners held off the charge. USC made 60 percent of its shots in the second half, but brothers Blake and Taylor Griffin kept Oklahoma in the lead by scoring 14 and 10 points respectively in the second half, including making 11 trips to the free throw line which was one more trip than the entire USC team after the break. Dwight Lewis led USC with 25 points and Taj Gibson had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Daniel Hackett added eight points, seven rebounds and a career-high 13 assists.
BISON ROAMING ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. North Dakota State on Dec. 20 at noon in the Galen Center. The Bison are 4-2 on the season with three more games on the schedule before facing USC. North Dakota State has four players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by seniors Ben Woodside (20.7) and Brent Winkelman (18.8). The Trojans and Bison have never met before in basketball.
TROJANS WINNING THE BOARD GAME -- So far this season, USC has enjoyed a 10.4 rebound edge per game (41.8-31.4). The Trojans have outrebounded the opposition in all eight games. USC had the same amount of rebounds as its opponents last season, and lost the battle of the boards the two previous seasons. The eight consecutive games USC has had more rebounds than its opponent ties for the best stretch in the Tim Floyd era (Feb. 21-March 14, 2008). USC was outrebounded in 17 of 33 games last season.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 4-0 at the Galen Center this season and have won eight consecutive home games dating back to the 2007-08 season. USC's longest winning streak at the Galen Center is nine games set Nov. 18-Dec. 28, 2006 during the inaugural season.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT -- Junior point guard Daniel Hackett recorded a career-high 13 assists in the game at Oklahoma on Dec. 4. His assist total was the most by a Trojan since Brandon Granville set the school record with 15 vs. Memphis on Nov. 23, 1999. Hackett's 13 assists are tied for the fourth most in a single game by a USC player, along with Larry Friend (13 on Dec. 6, 1985 vs. ASU) and Casey Jones (13 on Dec. 18, 1976 vs. Baylor). Hackett's 7.0 assists per game lead all conference players.
TROJANS ALL-ACCESS PROVIDES EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE -- USC is offering 11 games this season exclusively on Trojans All-Access, as the only video coverage. Fans can sign up at USCTrojans.com and watch selected games on their computers. Remaining games to be shown exclusively on Trojans All-Access are: Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine, Dec. 20 vs. North Dakota St., Dec. 28 vs. Oral Roberts, Jan. 2 at Oregon (delayed), Jan. 15 vs. Arizona St. (delayed).
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR -- USC's roster includes four players from outside of the country. Guards Daniel Hackett from Italy and Ryan Wetherell from Canada begin their third season with the Trojans, while forward Mamadou Diarra of Mali enters his second and forward Nikola Vucevic from Montenegro begins his first season at USC.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham, injured on Nov. 23 vs. Missouri, had reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee on Nov. 26. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
GIBSON A PRESEASON WOODEN AWARD CANDIDATE -- For the second consecutive season, USC forward Taj Gibson is listed as one of the 50 preseason Wooden Award candidates. Gibson is the first Trojan so listed since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate. Gibson averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore, while setting the USC single-season blocked shots record with 83. Gibson is also listed as an Athlon Preseason All-American (HM) and No. 6 on Lindy's list of top centers.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in USC's first eight games, including his 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th career double-doubles (22 points/10 rebounds vs. NMSU, 19 points/18 rebounds vs. SHU and 17 points/15 rebounds vs. UTC, 12 points/10 rebounds at Oklahoma). The 22 points on Nov. 18 vs. NMSU tied a career high and the 18 rebounds on Nov. 20 vs. SHU both tied career highs. His 18 rebounds vs. Seton Hall, along with SHU's John Garcia, established a new Puerto Rico Tip-Off single-game record.
DEROZAN NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM -- USC freshman DeMar DeRozan has been named to the CollegeHoops.net All-Freshman team. DeRozan was a McDonald's All-American and averaged 29.2 points his senior season at Compton High in Compton, Calif. Athlon Sports also named DeRozan to the preseason Pac-10 all-conference third team. DeRozan is also listed as a third-team selection to The Sporting News Preseason All-America team, the No. 9 small forward by Lindy's and the No. 3 freshman by Lindy's.
HACKETT IS MONEY FROM THE LINE -- USC junior Daniel Hackett made .823 percent of his free throws last season (79 of 96) to finish fifth among Pac-10 players from the line. He is 29-for-35 this season and his career free throw percentage of .810 (192 of 237) currently ranks second all-time among Trojan players. Dating back to the game on March 6, 2008 vs. California, Hackett made 18 consecutive free throws before missing his final one against New Mexico St. on Nov. 18 and has hit 40 of his last 46 (.870).
LEWIS LIGHTING IT UP -- Junior Dwight Lewis entered the season with 51 career three-pointers made, the most on the USC roster. He has made a team-leading 13 three-pointers this season and needs four more to tie Rory O'Neill for 20th on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list. Lewis scored a career-high 26 points in the 74-69 win vs. USF on Dec. 1 and followed that up with 25 points at Oklahoma on Dec. 4, his two best career scoring outputs. He has scored in double figures in all eight games this season. Prior to this season, his longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was four.
STEPHESON WAIVER PETITION DENIED -- Talented forward Alex Stepheson had his transfer waiver petition denied by the NCAA on Nov. 19 and will not be eligible for competition this season. Stepheson had requested eligibility for USC this season after transferring from North Carolina this fall due to family health concerns.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2008-09 schedule features a potential 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2007-08, including 13 that won 20 or more games. Also, eight of the teams that USC is set to face were in last year's tournament, including two games each with the five other Pac-10 teams which were in the NCAA Tournament. USC's opponents have a combined 36-26 record through games of Dec. 11 (33-21 if you take out the result against USC).
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost three games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (7-1) and Missouri (7-1) and fell by a point at No. 6 Oklahoma (9-0). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 23-2.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 40 teams to under 60 points in Tim Floyd's first 108 games as USC's head coach. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 56 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 108 games under Floyd. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only once this season (Missouri). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 66 of the last 78 games.