USC Men's Basketball Opens The New Year Hosting Utah On Jan. 2
The USC Trojans (5-2, 0-1) will host the Utah Runnin' Utes (4-2, 1-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 2 at 1:00 p.m. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network with Ted Robinson and Dan Belluomini calling the action.
FACING UTAH -- Utah (4-2, 1-1) is coming off a 72-70 loss at UCLA on Dec. 31. Senior guard Alfonso Plummer (16.0 ppg) and junior forward Timmy Allen (15.8 ppg) lead Utah in scoring. Eleven of the players on Utah's young roster are either freshman or sophomores. USC split two games against Utah last season, winning 56-52 at the Galen Center and falling 79-65 at the Huntsman Center. Utah leads the all-time series with USC, 25-20.
COLORADO CONTINUES TO FOIL THE TROJANS -- Colorado used some hot shooting early to take the lead and held the Trojans' comebacks at bay in a 72-62 win over USC at the Galen Center on Dec. 31. USC lost its fifth consecutive game to Colorado and is now 2-6 in its last eight home games against the Buffaloes. After being tied at 12-all six minutes into the game, USC never had a piece of the lead again, despite cutting the deficit to one late in the first half and to two in the second half. Tahj Eaddy had a team-high 16 points and five assists for USC, but it wasn't enough as the Trojans fell to Colorado in their Pac-12 opener at home. USC made just 38.3 percent of its shots.
ARIZONA ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Arizona (8-1, 2-1) on Jan. 7 in Tucson, Ariz. at 6 p.m. local time. Arizona is coming off an 80-53 rout of Washington in Seattle, Wash. The Wildcats will play at Washington State on Jan. 2 before hosting USC. Jemarl Baker Jr. (16.0 ppg), James Akinjo (13.8 ppg) and Jordan Brown (10.8 ppg) all are averaging double figures in scoring. USC trails in the all-time series with Arizona 44-68*, but has won three of the last four games. * each team had one win vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 45-69
MAGIC MARKER -- With the 86-63 win over Santa Clara on Dec. 29, USC is now 74-4 in its last 78 games when holding the opposition to under 70 points scored dating back to Feb. 28, 2015.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held its opponents to 36.3 percent shooting this season, tied for eighth-best in the country. The 41.7 shooting percentage by Colorado on Dec. 31 was just the second time all season USC's opponent shot better than 40 percent from the field (California Baptist - 45.1).
USC HOSTING BLOCK PARTY -- USC has had 37 blocks in its first seven games for an average of 5.3 blocks per game. That average ranks 14th in the country in that category. Freshman Evan Mobley is averaging 2.9 blocks per game, 14th in the country and first among freshmen.
ADD WATERS AND MIX -- Guard Reese Waters, a member of this year's highly-touted recruiting class, has graduated from high school early, enrolled at USC and became eligible for competition on Dec. 12. The 6-5 guard from Long Beach, Calif. made his first shot as a collegian, a three-pointer against Santa Clara on Dec. 29. Waters scored five points and had a rebound in five minutes of action against the Broncos. Waters and attended St. Bernard HS in Playa del Rey, Calif. He was ranked as the No. 4 player in the state of California and No. 50 overall player in the nation by 247Sports.com. Waters averaged 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in leading the Vikings to a 22-7 record last season.
EFFICIENT OFFENSE -- USC is second among Pac-12 with an 78.1 scoring average and has the fourth-largest scoring margin among Conference teams (+13.3). USC also is second among all Pac-12 teams with a 47.6 shooting percentage this season.
EVAN MOBLEY NEAR THE TOP OF THE PAC -- USC freshman forward currently ranks among the Pac-12's top 10 players in scoring (7th, 16.7 ppg), rebounds (3rd, 8.4), field goal percentage (5th, .587) and blocks (1st, 20).
IT'S A TEAM GAME -- Eight Trojans have already had at least one game of 10 points scored or more this season. Evan Mobley leads the team in scoring and has reached double figures in all seven games, while Tahj Eaddy is second on the team with five games scoring 10 or more points.
PLAYING PAINT BALL -- USC has outrebounded its opponents 294-247 through the first seven games and has outscored the opposition 248-166 on points scored in the paint.
LIKE NIGHT AND DAY -- In its five wins, USC is shooting 51.5 percent from the floor (158-for-307) and in its two losses is shooting 37.2 percent (42-for-113). USC has also outrebounded the opposition in all five of the wins (61 total rebounds) and was outrebounded in both of its losses (14 total rebounds).