Dec. 26, 1997|
Usc Men's Basketball Travels To Long Beach State And Hosts Tennessee Prior To Start Of Pac-10 Play
LOS ANGELES -- The USC men's basketball team (4-4), under the direction of head coach Henry Bibby, travels across town to take on Long Beach State on Saturday (Dec. 27) at "The Pyramid" and concludes non-league play on Tuesday (Dec. 30) against Tennessee at the Sports Arena. The Trojans, who have lost their last three games (USC's first three-game losing streak since the end of 1995-96 season), then open the new year and Pacific-10 Conference season at Arizona State (Jan. 3) and at defending national champion Arizona (Jan. 5). Bibby is in his second full season at the helm of the Trojan program. Last season, he led USC to a 17-11 overall record, a second-place tie in the Pacific-10 Conference race (12-6) and Troy's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992. This season's squad, which is led by forwards Gary Williams and Adam Spanich and guards Gary Johnson and Elias Ayuso, is comprised of eight returners, four newcomers and one player coming off a redshirt year.
GAME #9: USC (4-4) at Long Beach State (3-6) on Saturday, Dec. 27. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at The Pyramid. The game will be broadcast live on the Trojan Basketball Radio Network on KIEV-AM (870).
GAME #10: Tennessee (9-0) at USC on Tuesday, Dec. 30. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Sports Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Trojan Basketball Radio Network on KEZY-FM (95.9).
LAST TWO GAMES: On Dec. 23, USC gave No. 2 Kansas all it could handle, but came up just short in a 74-69 loss before 5,036 at the Sports Arena. Trojan guard Elias Ayuso scored a game-high 19 points (including five three-pointers) before being sidelined with a sprained left ankle late in the contest.
Kansas (14-1), playing on an opponent's home court for the first time this season, was led by Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce, who each scored 17 points. Ayuso opened the second half with one of his five three-pointers to give USC its last lead, 38-37. Kansas guard Billy Thomas answered with consecutive three-pointers to give the Jayhawks a 43-38 advantage with 18:34 remaining. Then, Pierce converted a three-point play to cap an 18-6 run, giving Kansas a 55-44 cushion with 14:31 to go. "They have too many horses and they keep coming at you," USC head coach Henry Bibby said. "They have two or three All Americans and one of the best coaches in America.
It was an uphill battle and we're short on people. But if we play this well every night we'll be okay." The Jayhawks extended their winning streak in the state of California to eight games since suffering back-to-back losses to USC and San Diego State in December of 1978. "(USC) played with more defensive frenzy tonight," Kansas head coach Roy Williams said. "They outplayed us, they outcoached us." Kansas was the highest ranked team USC played since Dec. 29, 1995, when the Trojans lost to No. 1 Massachusetts, 78-63, in the semifinals of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.
On Dec. 20, the Trojans lost at Ohio State, 79-73, dropping their second game in a row. Junior forward Adam Spanich came off the bench to lead USC with 21 points and 10 rebounds, posting the first double-double of his Trojan career. After the Buckeyes built an 11-point lead with 4:34 left to play, Spanich nailed two three-pointers in less than a minute to pull the Trojans back into the game, but Ohio State sank five of six free throws in the final moments to seal the victory (the Buckeyes came into the contest shooting just 54 percent from the foul line). Guards Elias Ayuso (17 points and three steals) and Gary Johnson (16 points and four assists) also scored in double figures for the Trojans.
Ohio State freshman Michael Redd scored a career-high 30 points. USC threw up a season-high 33 three-point shots, connecting on 13 (five by Spanich). The Buckeyes held a 36-30 advantage at the intermission.
ON THE AIR: Both the USC-Long Beach State and USC-Tennessee games will not be televised. However, both of the games will be broadcast live on the Trojan Basketball Radio Network. The USC-Long Beach State games will be on KIEV-AM (870), while the Tennessee-USC game will be carried by KEZY-FM (95.9). Larry Kahn handles the radio play-by-play, while ex-USC assistant coach Jim Hefner adds the color commentary. All of USC's radio broadcasts also feature short pre- and post-game shows immediately before and after the game.
COACHES: Last season, Henry Bibby (the 20th head coach in Trojan history) led USC to a 17-11 overall record, a second-place tie in the Pacific-10 Conference race (12-6) and Troy's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992. The only person to ever play for an NCAA, NBA and CBA championship team, Bibby has 15 years of college and professional coaching experience.
Last season, he notched his first victory as a collegiate head coach versus Long Beach State (77-70 _ Nov. 30, 1996), which started him on his way toward posting the best record by a Trojan coach in his first full season since Forrest Twogood went 21-6 in 1951. Long Beach State's Wayne Morgan is in his second season with the 49ers. Last season, he led Long Beach State to a 13-14 overall record and a 9-7 mark in Big West play (second in the Western Division).
Morgan spent 12 years as an assistant to Jim Boeheim at Syracuse (1984-96) prior to his arrival in Long Beach. During his time at Syracuse, the Orangemen went to 11 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the Final Four two times, including the 1996 national championship game. Morgan is 0-1 in his career against USC. Tennessee's Jerry Green is in his first year with the Volunteers after spending five years at Oregon (1993-97). He also was the head coach at UNC-Asheville for nine years (1980-88).
Green entered the season with a 222-178 overall record. Between his stints at UNC-Asheville and Oregon, he was an assistant to Roy Williams at Kansas for four years (1989-92). Green directed his last three Oregon teams to winning records for the first time in 19 years. He is 4-6 in his coaching career versus USC (all games while at Oregon).
THE SERIES: The Long Beach State-USC series is tied, 3-3. Last season, the Trojans defeated the 49ers, 77-70, at the Sports Arena on Nov. 30 (prior to a USC football victory over Notre Dame). The game marked USC's 1996-97 season-opener and the first collegiate victory of Henry Bibby's coaching career.
Rodrick Rhodes pumped in 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds in that game, which was his USC debut. The Trojans have not played the 49ers in Long Beach since early in the 1987-88 season, when they were defeated, 85-66. USC is 2-1 on the road versus Long Beach State, but has never played in The Pyramid before.
Tennessee leads the series with USC, 3-1. The Volunteers have won the previous two meetings, including a 71-59 decision last season in Knoxville. The Trojans shot just 28 percent from the field in that game. Stais Boseman led the Trojans with 13 points, but was 4-of-16 from the floor. Brandon Wharton led the Volunteers with 19 points (17 in the second half) and seven rebounds.
INJURY REPORT: The injury bug has hampered the Trojans from before the season even began. Senior forward Anthony White is expected to be out until at least mid-January. He broke a bone in his right foot in a pick-up game on Oct. 13.
Junior forward Jarvis Turner is out after fracturing a bone in his left hand against UNLV on Dec. 2. The Trojans are hopeful that he will be able to return to action when the Pacific-10 Conference season begins on Jan. 3 at Arizona State. Junior guard Elias Ayuso sprained his left ankle on Tuesday night against Kansas (after scoring a game-high 19 points). He is day-to-day and listed as questionable for the game at Long Beach State.
Freshman point guard Kevin Augustine, who had been battling tendinitis in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder, returned to action versus Kansas and is expected to play at Long Beach State.
AT THE SPORTS ARENA: Dating back to last season, the Trojans are 12-4 in their last 16 games at the Sports Arena and USC is 70-28 (.714) at the Sports Arena since the beginning of the 1991 season, including a 16-game winning streak over a span of the 1992 and 1993 seasons and a seven-game winning streak at the beginning of last season.
EQUAL TIME: Ten Trojans are averaging at least 15 minutes a game and half of those USC players are scoring in double figures.
BENCH STRENGTH: Despite the rash of injuries that has plagued USC this season, the Trojan bench has remained strong. The Trojans are currently getting 35 percent (222-of-627) of their points from their subs. In fact, in USC's last road game at Ohio State, three Trojans off the bench (Adam Spanich, Elias Ayuso and Jeff Trepagnier) combined to outscore the five starters, 41-32.
LONG DISTANCE OPERATORS: USC is currently shooting .385 from three-point range this season and on pace to break the school-record for three-point field goal percentage (.378 in 1991-92). Led by junior forward Adam Spanich, the Trojans have hit 69-of-179 three-point attempts in their first eight games. Spanich is 24-of-53 from behind the arc (.453), while junior guard Elias Ayuso is 17-of-48. Senior guards Gary Johnson and Ken Sims are 10-of-26 and 7-of-17 from three-point range, respectively.
NEWS & NOTES: USC head coach Henry Bibby has already employed five different starting lineups this season (14 different players have started for USC since the start of last season in 19 different starting lineups) ... Since the beginning of last season, the Trojans are 18-0 when leading with 5:00 remaining, 15-2 when they outrebound the opposition and 9-3 in games decided by seven points or less ... Street & Smith's 1997-98 Basketball Annual lists the Trojans as one of the 64 teams in the 1998 NCAA Tournament ... According to recruiting expert Bob Gibbons, USC has the second-best 1997 fall recruiting class in the Pac-10 (to Arizona) and ranks among the Top 10 nationally ... The Nov. 1 issue of Basketball Times, USC has the No. 2 recruiting class in the country (based on early commitments as of Sept. 13) ... USC's season-opener against New Mexico at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. on Nov. 11, represented the earliest start of a basketball season in the history of both teams. The previous earliest regular-season game in Trojan history was on Nov. 16, 1994, when USC hosted New Mexico State in the first-round of the Pre-season NIT. Last season, the Trojans opened the regular season almost three weeks later on Nov. 30, 1996. In fact, USC played five games this season prior to the date of last season's opener and went 4-1 in those contests.
GARY WILLIAMS: A 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior, Gary Williams is a player the Trojans will depend on heavily this season. Last season, Williams (a starter in 21 games) generally played out of position at power forward due to the personnel on the 1996-97 team. This season, Gary will play at his natural position of small forward where he can better utilize his skills on the perimeter (he is currently 6-of-16 from three-point range and even played a handful of minutes at point guard at Ohio State). He has started all eight games this season and is fourth on the team in scoring with a 11.6 average. Against No. 2 Kansas, Gary scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting. Against UNLV, he finished with 12 points in only 18 minutes of action. At San Diego State, Gary had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, he finished with a game-high 19 points, six rebounds and two steals. Against Loyola Marymount, Gary poured in a career-high 23 points and also hit a career-high three three-pointers to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. At Sacramento State, he finished with eight points. Gary had seven points and two rebounds in the season-opener at New Mexico. His play at both ends of the floor and the leadership he provides will be among the major keys to the season. After transferring from Riverside (Calif.) Community College, Williams was a mainstay along Troy's frontline in 1996-97 as a junior. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and also shot 76% from the foul line (third on the team). Gary earned an All-Pac-10 All-Newcomer Honorable Mention selection. A native of Bay Shore, N.Y., Williams averaged 25.1 points and 7.5 rebounds in 1995-96 at Riverside (Calif.) Community College. He spent his freshman season at Richmond, playing in 24 games for the Spiders in 1993-94, and then redshirted in 1994-95.
JARVIS TURNER: A 6-foot-8, 230-pound sophomore forward-center, Jarvis Turner is one of the keys to USC's season. He can play any position in the frontcourt, but is most valuable to the Trojans filling the gap at center. Jarvis is expected to be out of action at least one more week after fracturing a bone in his left hand in the first half against UNLV. His recovery has been going well and Jarvis could return in time for the start of Pac-10 play. He is currently USC's second leading scorer at 13.2 points per game and best free-throw shooter (19-of-24 _ .792). Before his injury, Jarvis had a good game going against UNLV, scoring six points in the first eight minutes of the contest. At San Diego State, he scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Jarvis finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists. Against Loyola Marymount, he scored a career-high 19 points and also had six rebounds, three steals and two assists. At Sacramento State, Jarvis scored all nine of his points in the second half, hitting four of his five shots from the field. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he scored a career-high 18 points and also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Last year, he started out slow due to an injury, but returned to action and showed flashes of the great potential he displayed in high school. After sitting out the first six games of the regular season with a stress fracture in his back, he returned to the court against Ohio State (Dec. 21) and went on to start three games (including USC's game at UCLA). Last season, Jarvis averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a true freshman. For his efforts, he earned an All-Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention selection. He sank the first five shots of his Trojan career, including a three-pointer against Washington. Turner averaged 24.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 1996 as a senior at South Bakersfield (Calif.) High, leading the Rebels to a 24-6 mark and the Southwestern Yosemite League title.
GARY JOHNSON: A 6-foot, 175-pound senior from Washington D.C., Gary Johnson is USC's starting point guard. The speedster, who is known for making key steals late in games, is being asked to provide leadership for Troy's young squad as well as strong play at both ends of the court. Gary is averaging 4.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Against No. 2 Kansas, he had seven points and four assists. At Ohio State, Gary scored 16 points, sinking a career-high four three-pointers, and also chipped in with four assists and three rebounds. Against UNLV, he scored a career-high 18 points and also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. At San Diego State, Gary tied his then-career-high with 15 points and also had five rebounds and four assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, he scored 13 points, had eight assists for the second consecutive game and made a career-high six steals. Against Loyola Marymount, Gary was one of the key players of the game, hitting four clutch free throws in the final 64 seconds. He finished with career-highs in points (15) and assists (eight) to go along with four steals (one of which sealed the victory in the closing seconds). At Sacramento State, Gary finished with seven points, three rebounds and three assists. Johnson also goes by the nickname "To-To" (pronounced TOO-too), which he has had practically from birth. He started eight games last season as a junior (including USC's last four regular-season contests and the NCAA Tournament game against Illinois). He averaged 3.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. In Pac-10 play, Gary averaged 3.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He made the first start of his USC career against then-No. 6 Arizona and responded with nine points, eight rebounds and four assists in Troy's 75-62 victory. At Washington State, Gary scored just three points, but he had five steals, including one with 18 seconds to play that proved to be the key play in a 92-85 victory that clinched USC's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1992. He also played at Brown Mackie College (Kansas) in 1995-96 and at Jacksonville College (Texas) in 1994-95.
ADAM SPANICH: A 6-foot-7, 212-pound sharp-shooting junior forward, Adam Spanich has added a marksman's touch and scoring punch to USC's bench after transferring from Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College. Adam currently leads the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game (38-of-80 from the field, 24-of-53 from three-point range). At his present pace, Adam could threaten Phil Glenn's all-time USC record for three-pointers in a season (93 set in 30 games in 1993). Against No. 2 Kansas, Adam was held to just seven points, but did dish out a season-high four assists. At Ohio State, he recorded the first double-double of his USC career with 21 points (including five three-pointers) and 10 rebounds in only 23 minutes of action. Against UNLV, Adam had an off night, scoring just two points on a pair of free throws. At San Diego State, he poured in a season-high 27 points (8-of-13 from the field, 7-of-11 on three-pointers -- his fifth consecutive game in double figures) in 27 minutes off the bench. Adam's 27 points against the Aztecs is the most scored by a Trojan this season and the most by a USC player since Rodrick Rhodes established his collegiate career-high with 32 points at Washington last season (March 8). His seven three-pointers at SDSU are also the most made by a Pac-10 player this season. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Adam finished with 10 points and was 2-of-4 from three-point land. Against Loyola Marymount, he hit a 19-foot jumper with 24 seconds left to break a tie and lead USC to a 92-88 victory. Adam finished with 13 points and four rebounds. At Sacramento State, he led all scorers with 18 points (4-of-7 from three-point range) and also had six rebounds. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Adam sank the first two three-pointers of his Trojan career and went on to finish with 10 points. In addition to his prolific three-point shot, he brings leadership and a solid work ethic to the Trojan squad. Spanich can play anywhere from the shooting guard to power forward. Last season, he averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a sophomore at Marshalltown CC. Considered one of the purest long-range shooters in the nation, Spanich connected on 47% of his three-pointers last season (92-of-195) and was even more of a marksman during league play, sinking 60% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He was a 1997 JC All-America honorable mention selection. Spanich also has previous NCAA Division I experience, having spent the 1995-96 season as a freshman at Oral Roberts. He was Iowa's 1995 Mr. Basketball while playing at Regis High in Cedar Rapids.
ELIAS AYUSO: A 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior, Elias Ayuso returns as USC's starting shooting guard after establishing himself as one of the Pac-10's top long-range marksmen last season. He is one of Troy's top options on offense. In only 36 games as a Trojan, Elias already ranks at No. 9 on USC's all-time three-pointer list with 66. Against No. 2 Kansas, he led all scorers with 19 points (5-of-10 from three-point range) and also had two steals, but was sidelined with 3:42 to go with a sprained left ankle. At Ohio State, Elias came off the bench to score 17 points (including three three-pointers) and make three steals. Against UNLV, he had eight points and four assists. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Elias scored a season-high 18 points (including three three-pointers) and passed out a career-high five assists. Against Loyola Marymount, he scored 14 points and had a career-high five steals. At Sacramento State, Elias finished with 14 points (5-of-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range). In the season-opener at New Mexico, he managed just five shots and finished with six points. Last year, Ayuso provided a tremendous boost to USC as a sophomore after transferring from New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M. He was named to the Pacific-10 Conference All-Newcomer first team. Elias, who started 21 games for the Trojans, shot .398 (49-of-123) from behind the three-point line. He averaged 8.9 points per game and his three-point percentage ranked him at No. 10 in the Pac-10. In conference play, Elias averaged 10.1 points and 2.1 threes per contest. He was one of only two players to play in all 28 games in 1996-97. At NMJC as a 1995-96 freshman, he averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Ayuso's real first name is Elias, but he also goes by the names "Larry," a moniker he gave himself as a youngster living in the Bronx, or "L-Train." Ayuso was born in Puerto Rico, where his nickname is "el rifle" (which means the rifle and is pronounced REEF-lay), but grew up in New York City and then moved to Roswell, N.M. Incredibly, he first played organized basketball in the fall of 1993.
SHANNON SWILLIS: A 6-foot-6, 225-pound redshirt freshman forward, Shannon Swillis is one of Troy's most surprising and important players this season. Shannon is currently USC's leading rebounder and one of the best in the Pac-10, averaging 8.0 boards per game. He also has a team-high 10 blocked shots this season (1.3 per game) and is second on the team in minutes played (204). Against No. 2 Kansas, Shannon finished with an impressive seven points and six rebounds in only 17 minutes of action against the heralded Jayhawk frontline. At Ohio State, he made the first start of his Trojan career and responded with eight rebounds, three assists, two points and two blocked shots. Against UNLV, Shannon yanked down a career-high 15 rebounds, the most by a Trojan since Jaha Wilson grabbed 15 against Arizona in the 1995-96 season. It marked the fifth time this season that he has led the Trojans on the boards. Shannon also had three points, three blocked shots, a steal and an assist versus the Runnin' Rebels. At San Diego State, he pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and chipped in with four points. In the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara, Shannon continued his excellent work on the glass, pulling down 10 rebounds. At Sacramento State, he was one of USC's most vital performers, controlling the boards with nine rebounds (he also had two blocks and two steals). In his Trojan debut at New Mexico, Shannon came off the bench to provide five points, four rebounds and a team-high four assists. Swillis was one of USC's three freshmen who were expected to play key roles last season. However, he broke a bone in his right foot before the start of the campaign. He returned to practice in mid-January, but did not play and was redshirted. Swillis averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 1996 as a senior at Bullard High (Fresno, Calif.).
KEN SIMS: A 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior swingman, Ken Sims is known for his athleticism, three-point shot and tough defense. Because he can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, his versatility is a luxury for the USC coaching staff. Ken is currently 7-of-17 from three-point range this season (.412). He started at small forward against UNLV and responded with 10 points and 12 rebounds, recording the first double-double of his USC career and the first by a Trojan this season. At Sacramento State, Ken scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he was 3-of-4 from the field (2-of-3 from three-point range) and finished with eight points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Sims, who is also an excellent baseball player, has been pitching in the Baltimore Orioles farm system for the past two summers (he is technically a walk-on _ the Orioles are paying for his college education). He played in 25 games last season as a junior and started six times for the Trojans after transferring to USC from New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M. Last season, he averaged 4.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. Ken started at shooting guard in USC's first three games of the season, scoring a combined 26 points (including 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting vs. LMU). He scored a season-high 17 points in the victory over Ohio State and also had four rebounds and four assists. A native of Union, S.C., Sims played baseball as well as basketball at New Mexico Junior College during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
GREG LAKEY: A 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward-center, Greg Lakey will play a major role this season in the Trojan frontcourt. He has started five games this season. Playing against No. 2 Kansas' powerful frontcourt (which includes All-American Raef LaFrentz), Greg nearly posted a double-double, scoring10 points and pulling down nine rebounds (both career-highs). He also had three steals and a blocked shot against the Jayhawks. At Ohio State, Greg scored a career-high nine points and also pulled down three rebounds and made two steals. Greg made the first start of his Trojan career against Loyola Marymount and finished with four points. At Sacramento State, he played an all-around strong game, finishing with six points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist. In the season-opener at New Mexico, he scored eight points (4-of-8 from the field) and pulled down three rebounds off the bench in 24 minutes of action. Last season, he averaged 23.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 steals per game last year while leading Lynwood (Calif.) High to an 18-10 overall record. During the summer prior to his senior season, Lakey blossomed while averaging 30 points in summer league games. He also attended the prestigious ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., where he was selected as one of the Top 20 seniors.
JEFF TREPAGNIER: A 6-foot-4, 175-pound freshman guard, Jeff Trepagnier has described by USC head coach Henry Bibby as the "steal" of Troy's highly-rated 1996-97 recruiting class. An amazingly gifted athlete who hustles all over the court, Jeff is already among the best leapers in the Pac-10. Against No. 2 Kansas, he came off the bench to add six points and seven rebounds. At Ohio State, Jeff grabbed four rebounds, scored three points and made three steals. Against UNLV, he had his best game, contributing 11 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots to the Trojan effort. At San Diego State, Jeff did not score in 13 minutes off the bench, but he did grab three rebounds, make three assists and force a couple Aztec turnovers with his hustle. At Sacramento State, Jeff put on an impressive performance that included seven points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal in only 19 minutes of action off the bench. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Jeff had an explosive fourth quarter (the game was played under experimental rules) by scoring nine points, including two thunderous dunks. Last season, he averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game as a senior in 1997 at Compton (Calif.) High.
KEVIN AUGUSTINE: A 6-foot, 180-pound point guard, Kevin Augustine is Troy's most well-known true freshman. He is expected to make a considerable impact in the USC backcourt this season, but has been hampered by injuries so far. Kevin, who was held out of the Ohio State game due to tendinitis in the rotator cuff in his right shoulder, returned to action against No. 2 Kansas and had four assists and two points in 17 minutes of action. He did not play at Loyola Marymount due to an illness, then returned to action in the home-opener against UC Santa Barbara and scored five points in just 13 minutes of action. At Sacramento State, Kevin played just 16 minutes off the bench, but managed a game-high eight assists to go along with three rebounds and two points. In the season-opener at New Mexico, Kevin finished with five points and a team-high three steals in 24 minutes of action off the bench. Kevin played extremely well in USC's first exhibition game, handing out 11 assists to go along with five points and five rebounds. Last season, he led Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) to its sixth consecutive CIF Southern Section Division I-A championship, averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Kevin shot 55% from the floor (211-of-385) during his senior season.
ANTHONY WHITE: A 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward, Anthony White is expected to be out until at least mid-January. He broke a bone in his right foot on Oct. 13. One of only a few players on the roster able to play in the low post, the senior from Jersey City, N.J., will be a key performer for the Trojans this season when he returns. Last season, White played in 19 games as a junior and started twice (vs. Ohio State and at Stanford). He did not start the 1996-97 campaign smoothly either. Anthony sat out the fall semester (the first six games of the season) while earning enough units to meet NCAA degree progress requirements. While sitting out those six games, he lost a lot of the momentum he picked up after an outstanding showing in pre-season practice. He was a junior college All-American in 1995-96 at Los Angeles City College (averaged 24.6 points and 13.8 rebounds as a sophomore) and also played previously at Hutchinson (Kan.) College in 1994-95 (averaged 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds).
BEHZAD SOUFERIAN & SEYMOUR DAFFEH: Senior guard Behzad Souferian and junior forward Seymour Daffeh are the elder statesmen of the USC men's basketball team. They both were walk-ons during the previous two years, before earning scholarships prior to this season. Souferian has played in 18 games for USC and even started once. In the second exhibition game, Behzad scored six points. Daffeh has seen action in a total of seven games. They are the only two current players who were on the 1995-96 Trojan squad when Henry Bibby arrived at USC as an assistant coach.
USC ROSTER ADDITION: No. 00 Shelby Jordan (6-7, 200, forward, freshman, Palos Verdes Penninsula High, Palos Verdes, Calif.) is a walk-on.
USC VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: USC's game against Kansas was its 10th against a ranked foe since last December. The Trojans are 2-8 versus ranked teams during that span. In the wins, USC shocked then-No. 6 (and eventual NCAA champion) Arizona, 75-62, on Jan. 16, 1997, and defeated then-No. 16 Stanford, 84-81, on Feb. 6, 1997. Both games were at the Sports Arena. The losses to ranked teams last season were to North Carolina (No. 14 _ 99-84 in the first round of the Harris Teeter Pepsi Challenge in Charlotte, N.C.), Stanford (No. 21 _ 85-70 at Maples Pavilion), Cincinnati (No. 7 _ 100-81 at the Sports Arena), Arizona (No. 11 _ 101-77 at the McKale Center), UCLA (No. 17 _ 82-60 at Pauley Pavilion) and Illinois (No. 19 _ 90-77 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte, N.C.), and this season, USC lost to New Mexico (No. 10 _ 98-76 at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.) and Kansas (No. 2 _ 74-69 at the Sports Arena).
USC VERSUS TOP 10 TEAMS: When USC lost to No. 2 Kansas (74-69) on Dec. 23, it was facing a Top 10 team for the second time this season and for the fourth time in the 1997 calendar year. Earlier this season, the Trojans lost at No. 10 New Mexico, 98-76. Last season, USC defeated then-No. 6 Arizona, ending a string of eight consecutive losses to teams ranked in the Top 10, but then lost to then-No. 7 Cincinnati. The win over eventual NCAA champion Arizona was Troy's first over a Top 10 team since USC edged No. 4 Arizona, 70-69, at the Sports Arena on March 14, 1992. The Trojans are 6-12 in their last 18 meetings with Top 10 foes.
USC VERSUS TOP 5 TEAMS: In the 1990s, USC is 5-5 versus teams ranked within the Top 5. The Trojans started out the decade with five consecutive wins over Top 5 teams (No. 5 Arizona [87-83] in 1990-91, and No. 4 Ohio State [79-77], No. 2 UCLA [86-82 _ at Pauley Pavilion], No. 4 UCLA [83-79] and No. 4 Arizona [70-69] in 1991-92).
TOUGH SCHEDULE: USC is scheduled to play five of the top 12 teams in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Top 25 (No. 1 Arizona, No. 4 Kansas, No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 New Mexico and No. 12 Stanford). Besides the usual rigors of the Pacific-10 Conference, USC's schedule includes a challenging slate of games. USC opened the season on the road on Nov. 11 at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. against host New Mexico, which was working on a 26-game home winning streak (third longest in the country) at "The Pit." The road schedule also includes a game at Ohio State and a pair of "Freeway Series" games against two local rivals _ Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State (Dec. 27). The featured match-up in USC's non-conference schedule is a home clash with national powerhouse Kansas on Dec. 23. The other three teams that visit the Sports Arena before the start of the Pac-10 season are UC Santa Barbara, UNLV and Tennessee (Dec. 30). The Trojans open league play on the road against Arizona State and defending NCAA champion Arizona (Jan. 3 and Jan. 5) and close out the regular season against those same teams back in Los Angeles, where Troy will have the luxury of playing five of its last seven games.