USC Plays At Colorado On Sunday|
Jan. 3, 2015
The USC Trojans (8-5, 0-1) will play the Colorado Buffaloes (8-5, 1-0) at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo. on Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. (PT). The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and ESPNLA 710. USC is 6-2 in its last eight games.
BREAKING DOWN COLORADO -- The Buffaloes are coming off a 62-56 home win against UCLA on Jan. 2 which snapped a two-game losing streak. Askia Booker leads Colorado with a 15.6 scoring average for the season and over 19 ppg in the last six games. Colorado also has Josh Scott (14.8 ppg) and Xavier Johnson (13.5 ppg) averaging in double figures. Scott missed the game against UCLA with back spasms. Three of Colorado's losses have been by three points or less. Colorado defeated USC three times last season, including 59-56 in the Pac-12 Tournament first round. Colorado has won the last five meetings and leads the all-time series 7-3.
USC FALLS HARD IN PAC-12 OPENER AT UTAH -- USC came out as cold as the weather, shooting just 26.5 percent in the first half, and No. 10 Utah coasted to a 79-55 win in Salt Lake City, Utah on Jan. 2. The Trojans lost their 6th consecutive conference road opener and fell to 1-12 in their last 13 Pac-12 road games. USC led 7-6 early, but Utah went on a 22-4 run to open a double-digit lead which it never relinquished. USC had held opponents to 38.9 percent shooting entering the game, but Utah made 56.9 percent of its baskets, including going 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) from three-point range. USC found its stroke in the second half, making 51.6 percent of its shots, but could get no closer than 15 points. Nikola Jovanovic and Malik Martin had 14 points and six rebounds each to lead the Trojans. Jordan McLaughlin had six points and two assists before leaving the game in the second half with a right shoulder injury. USC repeatedly got the ball inside in the first half, but its highly contested shots would not fall. The Trojans settled down in the second half and outscored the Utes 24-10 on points in the paint. For the game, USC shot 38.5 percent from the floor, 23.1 percent from 3-point range (3-for-13) and 40.0 percent from the line (2-for-5).
TROJANS RETURN HOME TO FACE THE BEARS -- USC's next game will be at home vs. California (11-3, 1-0) on Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. The Golden Bears opened Pac-12 play with an 81-75 home win vs. No. 21 Washington on Jan. 2 and will host Washington State on Jan. 4 before playing the Trojans. USC and California split the season series last year with both teams winning on their home courts. California leads the all-time series with USC, 133-121. Cuonzo Martin is in his first season as the head coach of California.
OFFENSE IMPROVING -- USC has averaged 72.8 points per game in the last six games, after averaging 62.3 points in the first seven contests. USC scored 75 or more points in four consecutive games (Dec. 3-21) for the first time since Nov. 30-Dec. 9, 2003.
McLAUGHLIN INJURES SHOULDER -- Freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin was forced to leave the game at Utah on Jan. 2 in the second half with a right shoulder injury. He is receiving treatment and is listed as day-to-day. Despite the injury holding him to six points, he has averaged 14.7 points in the last six games (88 total) and leads USC this season with a 12.7 scoring average. He also has 27 assists, 21 rebounds and nine steals in the six games, while making 10 three-pointers.
JOVANOVIC DOUBLING DOWN -- Sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic has scored in double figures the last eight games. In the eight games he has four double-doubles and averaged 14.3 points (114 total) and 9.9 rebounds (79 total).
MARTIN IS STARTIN' TO FIND HIS GROOVE -- After recording two 10-point outings in USC's first three games, Martin suffered a bone bruise in his right knee. He returned to action on Dec. 3 and in his last two games has scored a total of 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
DOING SOME ROAD WORK -- USC is 2-1 on the road this season and has won its last three nonconference road games dating back to last season: at Dayton on Dec. 22, 2013 (79-76 in OT), at New Mexico on Nov. 30, 2014 (66-54) and at Boston College on Dec. 21, 2014 (75-71). The last time USC won three or more consecutive nonconference road games was in 2001 when it won four straight at Bradley (60-50) on Dec. 1, at Long Beach State (86-68) on Dec. 12, at San Diego (76-67 in OT) on Dec. 20 and at LMU (81-67) on Dec. 22. The Trojans won consecutive road games at New Mexico and at Boston College this season for the first time since Jan. 30, 2013 at UCLA (75-71 in OT) and Feb. 14, 2013 at Stanford (65-64).
THE DEFENSE RARELY RESTS -- Despite allowing Utah to make 56.9 percent of its shots on Jan. 2 (an opponent high this season) USC has held seven of 13 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 40.1 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.
SUDDEN IMPACT -- Freshman Jordan McLaughlin leads USC with a scoring average of 12.7 points. He also leads USC in assists (64), steals (21), free throws made/attempted (40/62) and is second for the most three-pointers made (17). USC's freshman class of McLaughlin, Malik Martin, Elijah Stewart and Malik Marquetti has scored 37.3 percent of the Trojans' points this season (326 of 873). When you add in redshirt sophomores Katin Reinhardt and Darion Clark who are playing their first season for the Trojans, 62.5 percent (546 of 873) of USC's points are from newcomers.
NO SO FREE THROW LINE -- USC was 15-for-28 (.536) from the free throw line in the overtime loss to Army on Dec. 13. USC has made only 59.7 percent of its free throws in the last eight games (92-for-154). USC is shooting 61.6 percent from the free throw line this season and has only topped 70 percent in one of its first 13 games (70.6 percent vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17.
TURNING OVER THE TURNOVERS -- USC had 17 turnovers in the win at Boston College, its most turnovers in a game since also committing 17 vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17. USC also had 15 turnovers in the win vs. Vermont on Dec. 30, but improved to 3-3 this season when committing 14 or more turnovers. Still, USC has averaged 12.1 turnovers the past 10 games (121 total), after averaging 18.7 in the first three games of the season (56 total). USC has also forced 14.3 turnovers by its opponent in the last 10 games (143 total), after generating only 10.7 in the first three games.