USC Hosts Washington State At Galen Thursday
Jan. 19, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (11-6, 3-2) will host the Washington State Cougars (13-5, 3-3) at the Galen Center on Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be streamed live on USCTrojans.com. It will also air live on USC radio flagship sister station KGIL 1260 AM with Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner calling the action. USC is 9-2 in its last 11 games.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS -- Washington State is coming off a 77-73 home win vs. Stanford on Jan. 16. Sophomore Klay Thompson scored 27 in that game and is averaging a conference-leading 22.9 points per game. They also have been boosted by freshman point guard Reggie Moore who is averaging 13.4 points, second among first-year players in the Pac-10. Washington State leads the conference in field goal percentage, hitting at a .484 clip. USC won both matchups vs. WSU last season and owns a 66-41 lead in the all-time series, but are only 4-9 in the last 13 meetings between the two schools.
USC GETS BIGGEST WIN AT PAULEY -- Dwight Lewis scored 24 and Nikola Vucevic 19 as USC defeated UCLA 67-46 at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 16, the biggest win by the Trojans over the Bruins since the 1945 season. USC built the lead to double digits 10 and a half minutes into the contest and it stayed that way the rest of the game. USC led by 12 at the half behind Lewis' 17 first-half points and then road Vucevic's 17 second-half points to the 21-point victory. USC held UCLA to 33.3 percent shooting, while hitting at a 52.0 percent clip itself. The Trojans also won the battle of the boards handily, 37-22. It was the worst home loss for UCLA since falling 97-72 vs. Arizona during the 2004 season. USC snapped a nine-game road losing streak.
HUSKIES ON DECK -- Washington (12-5, 3-3) will play at UCLA on Jan. 21 before facing the Trojans at the Galen Center on Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Washington, the preseason No. 2 pick in the conference, leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense at 80.7 points per game. They are one of two Pac-10 teams without a road win (0-3). The Huskies are led by senior Quincy Pondexter who is averaging 20.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. USC and Washington split their series last season with both teams winning at home. The all-time series record is tied at 65-65.
USC STINGY ON OPPONENTS' SCORING -- USC enters the game having allowed 930 points in its first 17 games (54.7 ppg), its fewest through 17 games since allowing 861 points in the first 17 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is tied with Arizona for first in the country in points allowed per game at 54.7. California scored 67 points vs. the Trojans on Jan. 9, snapping USC's nine-game streak of holding its opponent to 56 points or less (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 12 opponents to 56 points or less this season.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC has held its opponents to 30.0 percent shooting from three-point range this season, tops among Pac-10 teams. In the last seven games, they have been even tougher, holding the opposition to 23.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc (28-for-119).
VOTE FOR DUNKING DEMAR -- Former Trojan DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors will face-off vs. Eric Gordon of the L.A. Clippers in an NBA All-Star Dunk-In competition on Feb. 12 in Dallas, Texas during halftime of the Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam. Both players will get two dunks and the winner of the voting done via SMS text message or at NBA.com will advance to participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk event on All-Star Saturday Night.
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic already has five double-doubles in his first 17 games this season, tied for second in the Pac-10 entering this week's action. 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 12.2 points and 9.2 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.2 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND SENIOR SEASON -- USC redshirt senior G/F Marcus Johnson, who played the second semester last season after transferring to USC from UConn, was granted another year of eligibilty by the NCAA following the season, but penalized two games for playing in an exhibition game in the 2007-08 season. USC is 23-9 in games he has been available to play in the two seasons. In his first game this season on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. Johnson scored his USC high of 19 points and had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. Johnson leads USC with 23 steals and is third in rebounds with 75 and blocks with 11. He has scored in double figures nine times and in four of the last six games.
DEVELOPING A HOME COURT ADVANTAGE AT GALEN -- USC has a 47-12 record all-time at the Galen Center, including winning 26 of the last 30 home games. Six of USC's last eight games have been away from the Galen Center.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2009-10 schedule features 12 games against teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last season and another 10 games against teams which were in either the NIT or CBI tournaments, meaning 22 of 30 games against teams that played in the 2009 postseason and 23 of 30 against teams that posted a .500 or better record. Including tonight's game vs. WSU, USC's opponents have a combined 191-124 record this season (60.6 winning percentage) through games of Jan. 17. Sagarin ratings list USC's schedule to date at the 19th toughest in the country.
GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT -- Alex Stepheson showed signs he is shaking off the rust of more than a year away from game action, as he scored a career-high 22 points at Georgia Tech on Dec. 5 and then had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 8 for his second career double-double. Stepheson then had his third career double-double vs. Idaho State on Dec. 11 with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. In the game vs. Tennessee on Dec. 19, Stepheson had 19 points and a new career high with 15 rebounds to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Dec. 14-20. He played in his first game as a Trojan on Nov. 27 vs. Coppin State and registered his first career double-double on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska with 13 points and a then career-best 12 rebounds. In his first 15 games, he has averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He has seven or more rebounds in 11 of 15 games.
GERRITY PROVIDES CLARITY -- Senior Mike Gerrity has played nine games and led USC to a 7-2 record. In his first game after sitting out the first semester due to tranfer rules, he led USC to a 77-55 upset of then No. 9 Tennessee on Dec. 19 and then to the championship of the Diamond Head Classic while earning Tournament MVP honors. Gerrity scored 15 of his team-high 17 points after halftime to help USC to a 55-51 comeback victory over Western Michigan on Dec. 22. He followed that up with a team-high 17 points including hitting a key three-pointer late in the game in the semifinals win vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. In the finals vs. UNLV on Dec. 25, he had 13 points and three assists without a turnover against UNLV's tough press. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 21-27. Gerrity has averaged 9.1 points, 3.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his first nine games. His 10 assists vs. Tennessee were the most by a Trojan since Daniel Hackett had 13 on Dec. 4, 2008 at Oklahoma. He has 29 assists and 18 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio.
THE BATTLE OF BOARDS -- USC is 9-7-1 in the rebound battle this season and has a rebound advantage of 545-452 in the last 15 G.
THE DWIGHT STUFF FROM LONG RANGE -- Senior Dwight Lewis who ranks 11th all-time at USC with 128 three-point baskets has hit 11 of his last 22 three-point attempts (50 percent). He had a season-high five three pointers vs. UCLA on Jan. 16 (5-for-9), after going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc at Stanford and 2-for-5 at Cal. Those efforts snapped a streak of five consecutive games in which he had not scored from three-point range (0-for-15), matching his longest career drought done Nov. 24-Dec. 9, 2006 during his freshman season. He has remained a constant scorer for USC, though, ranking first on the team with a 13.8 points per game average. Lewis had a career-best six 3-pointers on Feb. 12, 2009 at Arizona.