No. 7 USC Men's Basketball Back In Action Thursday At Cal
The No. 7/No. 8 USC Trojans (12-0, 2-0) will play at the California Golden Bears (9-5, 2-1) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. on Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. The game will air on FS1 with Jim Kozimor and Dan Belloumini calling the action. USC is 12-0 to start the season for the first time since 2017, when USC opened the campaign 14-0. The Trojans are one of three (Baylor & Colorado State) undefeated teams still remaining in college basketball. USC last played on Dec. 18, so it will be 18 days between games played.
USC'S DEFENSIVE EDGE -- USC is the first team in 15 seasons to hold its first 12 opponents to under 40 percent shooting. USC held Georgia Tech to 32.8 percent shooting on Dec. 18 and has held each of its opponent this season to under 40 percent shooting. For the season, USC has held the opposition to 35.2 percent shooting which ranks second in the country. Despite allowing WSU to make an opponent-high 40.0 percent from three-point range on Dec. 4, USC has held the opposition to a 27.4 shooting percentage from beyond the arc, 18th in the country.
FAST STARTS -- USC's 12-0 start to the 2021-22 season is tied for the fifth-best start by the Trojans in school history. USC's best start of a season was 17-0 in 1910, followed by 16-0 in 1971 and the 14-0 start to the 2017 season.
FAST STARTS II -- USC is 2-0 to begin Pac-12 play for the second time in 12 seasons (2019). The last time USC won its first three conference games was the 2002 season when it began 5-0.
STREAKS - USC's 12-game winning streak is tied for the 8th longest in school history. If USC were to win and go to 13-0, it would be tied for the 6th-longest winning streak in school history.
HIGHEST RANKING SINCE 1975 -- USC is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll this week, its highest regular season ranking since being ranked No. 6 on Jan. 21, 1975.
FACING CALIFORNIA -- California (9-5, 2-1) is coming off a 74-50 home win over Arizona State on Jan. 1, its fifth consecutive victory. Cal has also won its last nine home games, since losing its home opener to UC San Diego on Nov. 9. In its five-game winning streak, the Bears have won by an average of 17.6 points. Forward Andre Kelly leads Cal is scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). Guard Jordan Shephard (14.4) and forward Grant Anticevich (12.1) are also averaging double-figures in points. USC has a 128-136 all-time record against California, but has won its last six against the Golden Bears, including 76-68 last season in Berkeley.
ELLIS LEADS USC TO WIN OVER GEORGIA TECH -- Boogie Ellis scored 16 points as USC stayed perfect (12-0) in its start to the season with a 67-53 win against Georgia Tech at the Colangelo Classic in Phoenix on Dec. 18. Ellis scored in double figures for the first time in five games despite averaging 17.0 points in the Trojans' opening five contests. He also grabbed seven rebounds and was presented the game's Most Valuable Player award by tournament namesake Jerry Colangelo. The Trojans also had strong contributions from Chevez Goodwin (13 points and eight rebounds), and Ethan Anderson and Isaiah Mobley (11 points each). The Trojans pulled away at multiple points of the game thanks to 3-point shooting, making 9 of 19 treys for USC's best clip of the season at 47.1%. The Trojans had a cold start to the game and found themselves in an early 14-8 deficit but their' tough defense prevented further damage, holding the Yellow Jackets to a season-low 31.8% shooting all game. USC finally went on a 25-4 run later in the first half led by a 3-point barrage from Peterson, Anderson and Mobley. The burst gave USC a nine-point lead at halftime. Michael Devoe scored a game-high 25 points for the Yellow Jackets.
ON DECK: AT STANFORD SATURDAY -- USC's next game will be at Stanford (8-4, 1-1) on Jan. 8 at p.m. Stanford's last game was a 79-76 win over Liberty on Dec. 23 to reach the Diamond Head Classic final against Vanderbilt, but that game was canceled due to Covid-19 protocols within the Cardinal program. Stanford's game against UCLA Jan. 6 was postponed. Forwards Jaiden Delaire (12.3 ppg) and Harrison Ingram (12.2 ppg) lead the Cardinal is scoring. USC leads the all-time series 128-127 and has won the last three meetings. USC won 72-66 at Stanford last season.
BIG MEN, BIG NUMBERS -- Big men Isaiah Mobley and Chevez Goodwin have been at the forefront of USC's success so far this season and currently are the top two scorers and rebounders on the team. Mobley is averaging a near double-double with a team-leading 15.0 points per game and a team-high 9.6 rebounds per contest. He currently ranks 22nd in the country in rebounds per game. Goodwin is the Trojans' second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game and is second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per game. Goodwin's 64.2 shooting percentage is best among USC's players with at least five shots attempted and ranks ninth in the country. Mobley ranks first and Goodwin eighth among Pac-12 players in rebounds per game.
MOBLEY DIALING LONG DISTANCE -- Isaiah Mobley has made a team-leading 20 three-pointers this season and has a 42.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc (20-for-47). For his career, he has made 39.5 percent from three-point range (45-for-114). Mobley found his long-distance stroke late last season, making 10 of 15 three-points in USC's final six games. In his first 57 college games, Mobley made a total of 15 three-pointers (15-for-52, 28.8 percent), while he has made 30 in his last 18 games (30-for-62, 48.4 percent).
LOCKING DOWN CALIFORNIA -- With the 66-61 win vs. UC Irvine on Dec. 15, USC has now not lost to a California school in 1041 days (through Jan. 4). USC's last lost to a team from California was a 93-88 overtime setback vs. UCLA on Feb. 28, 2019. USC is 19-0 vs. such teams in that time frame.