USC Faces ASU On Thursday Seeking First Pac-12 Win|
Jan. 3, 2012
USC (5-10, 0-2) will host Arizona State (4-9, 0-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. USC has lost 6 of 7 games, while ASU has lost four in a row. The game is not being televised, but will be broadcast on KLAA 830 AM radio.
BREAKING DOWN THE SUN DEVILS -- Arizona State lost its conference opener 68-51 at Arizona on Dec. 31. Sophomore Keala King (13.7) and juniors Trent Lockett (13.4) and Felix Carrick (10.5) have double-figure scoring averages. USC defeated ASU both meetings last season and leads the all-time series 51-33. If there is a team that rivals USC's close losses this season it may be ASU which has lost six times by 6 points or less.
COMEBACK AT STANFORD FALLS SHORT -- USC's rally came up short and the Trojans had to settle for a 51-43 loss at Stanford on Dec. 31. USC trailed 40-29 with 14:25 left in the game, but went on a 12-4 run over the next 8 minutes to pull within 3 points at 44-41. A corner jumper and a 3-point shot by Stanford's Aaron Bright extended the lead to 49-41 with 4 minutes left and USC could not answer. Alexis Moore led USC with 12 points and 4 assists. Dewayne Dedmon added 10 points and 4 rebounds. USC was held to 34.8 shooting as Troy's leading scorer Maurice Jones went 1-for-12 from the field. Stanford hit 40.9 percent of its shots and finished with a season-low points. USC got off to a good start with a 10-2 lead, but Stanford answered right back with a 13-4 run of its own to take a 15-14 lead 10 minutes into the game and took a 31-25 lead at halftime. USC held Stanford scoreless for over 5 and a half minutes in the second half from the 14:25 mark until 8:49 was left, forcing the Cardinal into 5 turnovers, 4 missed shots and 4 fouls during that period, however the Trojans only scored 7 points in that stretch.
ARIZONA ON DECK -- Arizona (10-4, 1-0) defeated ASU 68-51 at home on Dec. 31 and will play at UCLA on Jan. 5 before facing USC. The Wildcats have an experience roster and several talented freshmen. Junior Solomon Hill (12.1), senior Kyle Fogg (11.6), senior Jesse Perry (11.8) and freshman Nick Johnson (10.4) all average in double figures. USC split the regular season games vs. Arizona during the 2010-11 season, but fell at the hands of the Wildcats in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals. Arizona leads the all-time series with USC 58-40.
TOUGH TRIP TO START WITH -- USC opened Pac-12 play in the Bay Area, not the easiest road trip traditionally for the Trojans. USC lost two close low-scoring games which weren't decided until late in the game. USC pulled off a sweep of Cal and Stanford up north last season, its first since the 1992 season. In the last 20 seasons, USC has gone a combined 9-31 at Cal and Stanford.
HAPPY TO TURN THE PAGE -- USC struggled in the month of December going 1-6 after a 4-4 start in November.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES -- With the Bay Area results, USC fell to 1-5 on Saturdays and 0-3 on Thursdays, meaning it is 4-2 in games played on all other days. The next two weeks USC will play on Sunday instead of Saturday.
HOLDING THEM DOWN -- USC has held 7 of its 15 opponents to their lowest scoring output of the season to date. In the last three games, USC held Kansas to 63 points, 2 off its low of the year (vs. Duke), California to 53 matching its season low (vs. Missouri) and Stanford to 51 (its lowest total by 9).
IT'S A FINE LINE -- In four of USC's 10 losses this season, it has made more baskets than the opposition (Nebraska, SDSU, UNLV, UNM). In those four losses the Trojans were outscored 62-26 from the free throw line. In the 10 losses overall, USC has been outscored 122-80 from the free throw line. In 7 of the 10 losses, USC was within 3 points, tied or had the lead with under 4 minutes left in the game.
FRESHMAN FOUNDATION - USC freshmen guards Byron Wesley and Alexis Moore look to be providing the Trojans with good building blocks for the future. Through 15 games, Wesley is the fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder on the team with averages of 6.5 and 4.7 respectively. He is also second on the team in assists with 26. Moore is fifth on the team with a 6.0 scoring average and is second on the team in three-point baskets (18). Wesley has started every game and his 32.7 minutes per game played are the most by a freshman in the Pac-12.
ALWAYS ENTERTAINING -- Forty-nine of the 79 games played by USC in the last three seasons have been decided by 10 points or less (62.0 percent). Also, 21 of the 39 losses have been decided by 6 points or less (53.8 percent). USC played five consecutive games decided by 7 points or less to start the season before losing by 11 points to UNLV on Nov. 25. It was the first time since the 2010 season and just the third time in the past 21 seasons USC had played five straight games decided by 7 points or less. USC then defeated South Carolina be three points on Nov. 26, before winning by 21 at UC Riverside and losing by 15 at Minnesota. USC then returned home to lose by three points to New Mexico and by four to Georgia. Nine of USC's 15 games this season have been decided by 7 points or less and 6 by 4 points or less.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held its opponents to 55.5 points per game and a 39.9 shooting percentage through the first 15 games. USC held opponents to a conference low of 62.7 points per game during the 2010-11 season. USC was 13-1 in games it held the opponent under 60 points last season, the lone loss being its NCAA Tournament loss to VCU (59-46), yet is 3-6 this season when holding the opponent under 60 points. In the past seven seasons, USC has held the opponent to under 60 points 90 times and is 70-20 in those games (.778 winning percentage). USC also held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting 16 times during the 2010-11 season and was 14-2 in those games. During the past seven seasons USC has held the opponent to under 40 percent shooting 109 times and is 84-25 in those games (.771 winning percentage). USC has allowed 80 points or more just five times in the first 79 games under head coach Kevin O'Neill and one of those games was a double-overtime contest. USC is 0-5 in those games.