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USC Men's Basketball Takes On ASU In Tempe Seeking Rare Desert Sweep

Jan 8, 2021

Watch on Pac-12 Networks | Listen Live | Live Stats | Game Notes (PDF)

The USC Trojans (7-2, 2-1) will play at the Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4, 1-1) at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz. on Jan. 9 at 4:00 p.m. PT. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network with Ted Robinson and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude calling the action.  USC is seeking to get its first road sweep at the Arizona schools since the 1985 season.  USC is also attempting to win its first two conference road games for the first time since the 2007 season (at Oregon and at Oregon State).

FACING ARIZONA STATE  -- Arizona State (4-4, 1-1) is coming off a short-handed 81-75 overtime loss at home to UCLA on Jan. 7.  Josh Christopher (17.5), Alonzo Verge Jr. (17.0) and Remy Martin (16.9) lead the Sun Devils in scoring.  USC leads the all-time series with ASU, 55*-42.  The teams split the 2019-20 season series with each team winning its home game.  They also have split the last 10 meetings with every game being decided by 10 points or less, six by three points or fewer.  USC has lost its last seven games in Tempe.
*2 wins in 2008 later vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 57-42.

USC SNAPS 10-GAME LOSING STREAK AT ARIZONA  -- USC led by one point at halftime and pulled away midway through the second half to defeat Arizona 87-74 in Tucson, USC's largest margin of victory at Arizona since the 1927 season (44-15).  The win also snapped a 10-game losing streak at Arizona and was USC's third win in Arizona in the last 34 games, and one of those was vacated due to NCAA penalty.  Isaiah White, who scored a team-high 22 points, made a layup with just under 13 minutes remaining and Noah Baumann followed with a three-pointer and USC led the rest of the way.  Evan Mobley had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.  Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis led all scorers with a career-high 31 points.

MAGIC MARKER --  With the 64-46 win over Utah on Jan. 2, USC is now 75-4 in its last 79 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 35.9 percent shooting this season, fifth-best in the country. The 40.3 shooting percentage by Arizona on Jan. 7 was just the third time all season USC's opponent shot better than 40 percent from the field.    

USC HOSTING BLOCK PARTY -- USC has had 50 blocks in its first nine games for an average of 5.6 blocks per game.  That average ranks tied for 10th in the country in that category.  Freshman Evan Mobley is averaging 2.7 blocks per game, 16th in the country and first among freshmen.

EFFICIENT OFFENSE -- USC is second among Pac-12 with an 77.6 scoring average and is first with a +13.9 scoring margin.  USC also leads all Pac-12 teams with a 49.2 shooting percentage this season.  It is early in the season, but the last time USC had a higher team field goal percentage was the 1979 season when it finished shooting .499 from the floor.  The USC record since team statistics were kept in 1948 id 50.2 percent set in the 1974 season.

EVAN MOBLEY NEAR THE TOP OF THE PAC -- USC freshman forward currently ranks among the Pac-12's top players in scoring (11th, 15.4 ppg), rebounds (3rd, 8.3), field goal percentage (3rd, .580) and blocks (1st, 24).

IT'S A TEAM GAME -- Eight Trojans have already had at least one game of 10 points scored or more this season.  Eight Trojans are averaging at least 6.1 points per game.

PLAYING PAINT BALL -- USC has outrebounded its opponents 364-309 through the first nine games and has outscored the opposition 318-226 on points scored in the paint.

LIKE NIGHT AND DAY --  In its seven wins, USC is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor (214-for-407) and in its two losses is shooting 37.2 percent (42-for-113).  USC has also outrebounded or had the same amount of boards as the opposition in all seven of the wins (69 total rebounds) and was outrebounded in both of its losses (14 total rebounds).

A NEW DAY HAS DAWNED -- With the turnover to USC's roster since last season and the injury to Ethan Anderson, 79.9 percent (558 points) of USC's 698 points scored this season have come from players who did not suit up for USC during the 2019-20 season.

MOBLEY NAMED TO MIDSEASON WOODEN AWARD WATCH LIST -- USC freshman forward Evan Mobley was named to the 25-man Wooden Award Midseason Watch List for the top men's collegiate basketball player. Mobley is one of four freshmen on the list.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS -- USC led Arizona by one point at the half on Thursday (35-34), then outscored the Wildcats 52-39 after the break.  USC has only been outscored by the opposition in the second half in one game this season (Montana).  USC has held its opponent to 35.0 percent shooting in the second half and 28.1 percent from three-point range after the break.