USC Takes On No. 22 Washington At Galen On Saturday

Feb. 20, 2009

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (16-9, 7-6) will face the No. 22 Washington Huskies (19-7, 10-4) at the Galen Center on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. USC has won five straight at home and 13 of 14 at the Galen Center this season. Last season after 25 games USC was also 16-9, 7-6. USC is attempting to get a home sweep of the Washington schools for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

BREAKING DOWN THE HUSKIES -- The Huskies are led in scoring by Isaiah Thomas (16.3), Justin Dentmon (16.1) and Jon Brockman (15.0). USC lost 78-73 at Washington on Jan. 22 as the Huskies outshot USC 40-17 from the free throw line. USC leads in the all-time series 65-64. UW is coming off an 85-76 loss at UCLA on Feb. 19, but has won eight of its last 11 games. The Huskies have scored at least 71 points in 13 straight games.

TROJANS BOUNCE BACK AGAINST WSU -- USC snapped a season-high three-game losing streak and improved to 13-1 at home with a 61-51 win vs. Washington State on Feb. 19 at the Galen Center. USC led 29-21 at the half and increased the lead to 14 points, before WSU made a run to cut it to 45-44 with 7:33 left. USC scored the next five points and the lead never dipped below four points the rest of the way. Dwight Lewis led all scorers with 17 points. Taj Gibson added 16 points and eight rebounds. USC held WSU to 36.5 percent from the field in this game and to 32 percent in the two games this season.

CALIFORNIA ON DECK -- The Trojans will travel to the Bay Area next week, first playing California (20-6, 9-4) on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The Bears won 78-60 at Oregon on Feb. 19 and will play at Oregon St. on Feb. 21, before hosting USC. The Trojans defeated Cal 73-62 on Jan. 31 at the Galen Center, the Bears' last loss. Cal is led in scoring by junior guard Jerome Randle who is second in the Pac-10 in scoring with an 18.4 average. USC trails in the all-time series, 117-125. USC is 3-9 in the last 12 games at California.

BLOCK AROUND THE CLOCK -- Taj Gibson was held without a block for the first time this season on Thursday vs. Washington State. In fact, it snapped a streak of 46 consecutive games with at least one block (dating back to the 2007-08 season). That was the longest active streak by any men's college player. Hasheem Thabeet now has the longest current active streak at 41 games (courtesy of STATS, LLC).

MISSING IN ACTION -- USC took just three 3-pointers (made 2) in the win vs. Washington State on Thursday. It was the fewest 3-point attempts by USC since also taking three at Arizona on Feb. 16, 1989. USC improved to 7-2 this season when taking 10 or less 3-point shots.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF -- USC committed just nine turnovers vs. Washington State on Feb. 19. It was the seventh time in the last 13 games in single-digits in turnovers, after registering 10 or more turnovers in each of the first 12 games. In the first 12 games USC averaged 16.8 turnovers and has averaged 12.5 in the last 13 games (162 turnovers). USC is 9-0 this season when having the same amount or less turnovers than the opposition.

IN TIM WE TRUST -- Tim Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 21 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 322-176 record in his 16 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-08). He won his 300th career game on Feb. 7, 2008 at Washington. Floyd posted a 63-37 record in his first three seasons as USC's head coach (the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first three seasons) and is 79-46 overall at the helm of the Trojans. Ten of his first 15 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (7 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 13 players in his 15 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.

DESPITE MISSING PIECES, FLOYD PUTS PUZZLE TOGETHER - USC is 7-6 in conference play despite having the whole team available for three games. Already without forwards Kasey Cunningham for most of the season and Alex Stepheson for the entire season, the Trojans were forced to play the first four conference games without forward Leonard Washington (high left ankle sprain), and then lost leading scorer guard Dwight Lewis (left ankle sprain) for the two games in Washington. Sixth-man Marcus Johnson missed the last four games with a strained right rotator cuff and forward Nikola Vucevic missed two games with a strained lower back, before returning on Thursday.

MAGICAL MARKS -- USC has an 9-0 record when it has as many or less turnovers than the opposition and is also 9-0 when holding the opponent to under 60 points. The Trojans are 11-1 when holding opponents under 40-percent from the field. USC is 13-3 in games they lead with five minutes left.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS -- USC played 10 games decided by 5 points or less (5-5). The Trojans have been within 5 points at some point with under 4 minutes to play in all but one of its 9 losses this season. In 5 of the Trojans' 9 losses, they were within 3 points with under a minute to play.

JOHNSON MAKING IMPACT -- USC guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, has stepped in an had an immediate impact. In his first 10 games, Johnson has averaged 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. He scored a season-high 9 points, including a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks vs. Stanford on Jan. 29, then had 3 rebounds and scored 6 points, which included another impressive dunk. He scored 7 points, including the basket to give USC the lead, in the win at WSU on Jan. 24. He scored 8 points at Washington on Jan. 22 and made his first start on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA, scoring 4 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Johnson played in part of one exhibition game for UConn last season before transferring and thus had to sit out the first semester.

VUCEVIC A WSU SPECIALIST? -- The freshman forward made his first start on Jan. 24 at WSU and notched then career highs in points with 8 and rebounds with 5. He did not start again until Feb. 19 vs. WSU and had 8 points again and a new career high with 7 rebounds. In the two games against the Cougars he has 16 points in 56 minutes and in his other 11 games, has 22 points in 98 minutes. He came off the bench at UCLA on Feb. 4 and matched a career-high with 8 points and had 6 rebounds and 4 steals. He missed the two games in Arizona with a lower back strain.

A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,453-1,037 in their 103 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 73 of the first 102 seasons.

TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS -- USC currently unranked. USC began the season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and Poll.

USC PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-10 -- At the annual Pac-10 Media Day held on Oct. 30, USC was picked to finish third in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the league media. UCLA was picked first with 379 votes, followed by Arizona State (325), USC (292), Arizona (241), Washington (217), Washington State (188), Oregon (147), California (143), Stanford (115) and Oregon State (40). USC was picked to finish sixth in 2007-08 and finished tied for third with an 11-7 record. USC was also 11-7 and tied for third during the 2006-07 season and is attempting to win in double figures in Pac-10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in history.

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. Ryan Wetherell has an eye injury/blurring...began limited practice the week of Jan. 26. Marcus Johnson has a right rotator cuff strain and is day-to-day.

TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson was diagnosed on Jan. 26 with an pneumonia, then practiced Jan. 28 and scored 20 points in 38 minutes on Jan. 29 vs. Stanford, then dropped in 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds vs. California on Jan. 31. He has averaged 14.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in USC's first 25 games, including 11 double-doubles giving him 27 in his career. Gibson is attempting to become the first Trojan to average a double-double since Jaha Wilson in 1994-95 (14.2 pts/10.1 reb.). The 25 points on Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine was a career high and the 18 rebounds on Nov. 20 vs. SHU and Dec. 20 vs. NDSU tied a career high. Gibson has scored in double figures in 22 of 25 games and has 8 rebounds or more in 17 of 25 games. Gibson has been named to the Midseason Top 30 for the Wooden Award. Gibson also has been rising up the USC career scoring charts and currently has 1,157 points, 22nd all time in scoring by a Trojan. Errick Craven (2002-05) is 21st on USC's scoring list with 1,159 career points and Allen Young (1963-65) is 20th with 1,168 points

DEROZAN DELIVERING -- Freshman DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points & had 18 rebounds on the trip to Arizona and has averaged 14.4 points (231) and 6.2 rebounds (99) in his last 16 games. He reached double figures in scoring 13-straight games before being held to 5 on Jan. 24 at WSU. He scored a career-high 22 points in the win vs. ASU on Jan. 15. On Jan. 2 at Oregon, he had his first career double-double (14 pts/12 reb) and added his second at ASU on Feb. 15 (16 pts/10 reb). In the last five games, he has averaged 15.6 points and 7.0 rebounds.

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 is tied for 4th in the Pac-10 with 4.7 assists per game and is 5th in total assists with 118. He currently has 315 in his career, 7th all-time by a Trojan. Robert Pack (1990-91) is 6th with 319 and Gus Williams (1973-75) 5th with 362.

THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Dwight Lewis led USC with 20 points at UCLA on Feb. 4 and 21 at Arizona on Feb. 12, a sign he is returning to form after missing 2 games with a sprained left ankle. At Arizona, Lewis hit a career-high 6 three-pointers, including his first 5 attempts in the 2nd half. He then led USC in scoring with 17 vs. WSU on Feb. 19. He has made a team-leading 39 three-pointers this season and 90 in his career to move into 18th place on USC's all-time three-pointers made list. Errick Craven is 17th with 92 three-pointers. 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, at the time his two best career scoring outputs. He matched his career high with 26 points at Oregon on Jan. 2, including making 4 three-pointers. Lewis scored in double figures in a career-high 9 straight games to start this season and in 19 of 23 games overall.

ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 13-1 at home this season. The loss to UCLA on Jan. 11 snapped an 8-game home winning streak this season and a 12-game home winning streak at the Galen Center dating back to 2007-08, a Galen Center record. The last time USC won 13 of its first 14 home games was during the 1991-92 season (14-1).

FACING THE BEST -- Through games of Feb. 19, USC's opponents have a combined 391-254 record, six of USC's opponents are a combined 53-102, while the other 19 are 338-152. Nineteen of USC's 25 games have been against teams that are .500 or better and 17 of those teams have won 14 or more games. With today's game vs. Washington, 11 of USC's first 26 games have been against teams ranked in the top 43 in the RPI rankings. USC's schedule is ranked the 17th toughest.

BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost 9 games this season, they have fallen to some quality teams and 6 of the 9 games were decided by 7 points or less. USC has lost to Seton Hall (14-11), No. 11 Missouri (22-4), Oregon St. (11-14), No. 2 Oklahoma (25-1), No. 20 UCLA twice (20-6), No. 22 Washington (19-7), No. 29 Arizona (18-8) and No. 14 Arizona State (20-5). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 169-62 (through Feb. 19).

DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 49 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 125 games as USC's head coach, including 10 this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 64 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 125 games under Floyd, 12 times this season. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only five times this season (Mizz, OSU, ASU & Uof A-2). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 79 of the last 95 games.

WINNING THE BOARD GAMES -- USC outrebounded the opposition in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by Oral Roberts on Dec. 29, but has had a rebounding edge in 20 of 25 games this season. USC has enjoyed a 5.9 rebound edge per game, good for 25th in the country. USC was outrebounded in 17 of 33 games last season.

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