USC Hosts First-Place California Thursday
Feb. 2, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (12-9, 4-5) will host the California Golden Bears (14-7, 6-3) at the Galen Center on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. to begin the second half of Pac-10 play. The game will be broadcast live on USCTrojans.com. The game will also be aired live on USC radio flagship station ESPN Radio 710 AM with Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner calling the action. USC is 2-5 in its last seven games, following an eight-game winning streak.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS -- California is tied for first in the conference with Arizona at 6-3 following a 76-72 loss vs. the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 31. Still, California has won five of its last seven games. The Golden Bears are second in the conference in scoring average at 78.7 points per game. They are led in scoring by guards Jerome Randle (18.9 ppg) and Patrick Christopher (16.4 ppg). USC lost 67-59 at California on Jan. 9 and trail in the all-time series, 118-127. USC has won five of its last six home games against Cal.
TECHNICALLY, A FOUL LOSS TO DUCKS -- USC rallied back from a 9-point deficit with under 8 minutes left to forge a tie, but Oregon responded with a 10-0 run and went on to defeat the Trojans 67-57 in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 30. USC tied the game at 47-all, but after Tajuan Porter hit a floater in the lane to give the Ducks a 2-point lead, USC missed a shot and when Oregon got the rebound, there was a technical foul called on the USC bench. Porter hit the technicals, Oregon kept possession and added 2 more FT to expand the lead to 6 and USC never recovered. The Ducks made 50 percent of their shots vs. USC, which entered the game holding opponents to 37.3 percent shooting, best in the Pac-10 and 6th best in the country. Dwight Lewis scored 16 points to lead USC and Nikola Vucevic finished with 10 points & 14 rebounds (7th dbl-dbl).
CARDINAL ON DECK -- Stanford (10-11, 4-5) will play at UCLA on Feb. 4 before facing USC at the Galen Center on Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m. Stanford is coming off a 88-70 loss at Arizona State on Jan. 30, dropping their Pac-10 road record to 0-5. Stanford's Landry Fields lead the Pac-10 with a 22.3 scoring average and is closely followed by Jeremy Green who averages 18.0 points per game, fifth-best in the conference. The all-time series vs. Stanford is tied 118-118 after the Cardinal won 54-53 at home on Jan. 6. USC has won 4 consecutive home games vs. Stanford.
LEWIS TO SET RECORD THURSDAY -- Dwight Lewis enters tonight's game tied with Brandon Granville (1999-02) as USC's all-time leader in games played at 124. Lewis already ranks 14th on the school's scoring charts and is 10th on USC's all-time three-pointers made list.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game having allowed 1176 points in its first 21 games (56.0 ppg), its fewest through 21 games since allowing 1053 points in the first 21 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is fourth in the country in points allowed per game at 56.0. USC held 9 consecutive opponents to 56 points or less from Dec. 8-Jan. 6 (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 13 opponents to 56 points or less this season and only twice has allowed more than 67 points (69 at Texas and 79 at Georgia Tech).
USC HITS THE BACK NINE -- USC begins the second half of the Pac-10 schedule by playing five of its next seven games at home, ending the season on the road in Arizona.
NOTES -- USC is 9-1 when taking more FTs than opponents...In Pac-10 games, USC & UofA are only teams with losses by only 10 points or less...USC has led in the 2nd half or been tied in all 9 Pac-10 G...in USC's 5 Pac-10 losses, it has committed 102 fouls, while the opponent only 60.
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic has seven double-doubles this season, tied for second in the Pac-10 entering this week's action. His last one was a 10-point, 11-rebound effort at Oregon on Jan. 30 and he has had one in two of the last three games as he posted 11 points and 13 rebounds vs. Washington on Jan. 23. 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 11.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.6 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND SENIOR SEASON -- USC 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 24-12 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 then USC high of 19 points and had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. He set a new career high with 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting vs. Washington on Jan. 23. Johnson leads USC with 27 steals and is third in rebounds with 91 and blocks with 11. He has scored in double figures 11 times and in six of the last 10 games (11.5 ppg/115 total points).
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 19 games, he has averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He has seven or more rebounds in 12 of 19 games.
GERRITY PROVIDES CLARITY -- Senior Mike Gerrity has played 13 games and led USC to an 8-5 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 9.3 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds in his first 12 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 53 assists and 25 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio. He has had seven games of one turnover or less and has 34 assists and 10 turnovers in the last eight games. His 2.4-1 turnover-assist ratio is second best in the Pac-10.
WASHINGTON FILLS UP THE STAT LINES -- Sophomore forward Leonard Washington played in his first game of the season on Dec. 23 after missing the first semester with academic issues and had an immediate impact. He scored 10 points, had six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and an assist vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. He then scored nine points and had four rebounds and a block vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. In his first 11 games back, Washington has averaged 6.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and has seven blocks and 13 steals. Washington was fifth in scoring for USC as a freshman with a 6.1 average in 30 games, 13 starts. He scored in double figures six times last season with a high of 17 vs. North Dakota State on Dec. 20, 2008. His high game this season is 11 points at Oregon State on Jan. 28.
BIG TIME LEWIS RISING UP SCORING LISTS -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,335 career points, 14th all-time at USC and six points behind Lorenzo Orr (1992-95) who is 13th with 1,341. Lewis ranks 10th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 133 makes. Stais Boseman (1994-97) ranks 9th on USC's all-time three-point basket list with 145. Lewis led USC with a 14.4 scoring average in 2008-09, as well in three-point baskets (55) and free throw shooting (74.8 percent). He reached double figures in scoring in 27 of his 33 games last season, scoring a career-high 26 twice (vs. San Francisco on Dec. 1 and at Oregon on Jan. 2). He has five 20-point games this season (22 vs. UCR on Nov. 17, 21 vs. Tennesse on Dec. 19, 22 at Stanford on Jan. 6, 20 at California on Jan. 9 and 24 at UCLA on Jan. 16) and has had 14 career 20-point games. Lewis has averaged 17.0 points in his last seven games (119 points) and made 45 of 96 shots (46.9 percent), despite scoring 5 points on 2-for-12 shooting in the game at Oregon State on Jan. 28..
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 66 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (156 games), including 13 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 80 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 156 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and eight times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT, WMU, Stanford, Cal, WSU, Oregon). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 98 of the last 126 games. USC held Sac. State to 23.0 percent shooting on Dec. 8, the lowest percentage by a Trojan opponent since Loyola Marymount shot 22.4 percent from the field on Dec. 9, 1998. USC has held it opponents this season to a 37.8 shooting percentage, best in the Pac-10 and 11th in the country.