USC Takes On California Saturday At Galen
Jan. 4, 2013
USC (6-8, 1-0) will host California (8-5, 0-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. The Trojans are 3-2 in their last five games and are seeking their first three-game winning streak since Feb. 17-26, 2011 when they won four consecutive games. USC is also seeking just its second 2-0 start in conference play in the last 11 seasons (2009-10).
BREAKING DOWN THE GOLDEN BEARS -- California opened conference play by falling 79-65 at UCLA on Jan. 3 and has lost its last two games. Cal has been led by the dynamic scoring duo of Allen Crabbe (20.9) and Justin Cobbs (16.1) who rank first and seventh respectively among Pac-12 players in points per game. Mike Montgomery is in his 31st season as a head coach, fifth at the helm for the Golden Bears. California won both meetings last season and leads the all-time series, 130-121.
USC RALLIES TO BEAT STANFORD -- Jio Fontan scored a season-high15 points including a pair of tiebreaking free throws with 6.9 seconds to play and USC pulled out a 71-69 victory over Stanford on Jan. 3 at the Galen Center in the Pac-12 opener for both schools. Stanford's Aaron Bright missed a 10-foot jumper and a follow dunk by Dwight Powell caromed high off the rim as the buzzer went off and the Trojans claimed victory in a game they did not lead until under 9 minutes remaining. Eric Wise added 14 points, Dewayne Dedmon 11 and Chass Bryan a career-high 10 in the victory for USC. Andy Brown led Stanford with a game-high 17 points.
COLORADO ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Colorado (10-3, 0-1) at the Coors Events Center on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. (MT). Colorado will play at Arizona State on Jan. 6 before returning home to host the Trojans. The Buffaloes lost their Pac-10 opener in overtime at Arizona on Jan. 3 (92-83). USC's last visit to Colorado was a 74-54 loss on Dec. 2, 1968. Colorado defeated USC 74-50 at the Galen Center last season and the all-time series is tied at 3-3. The Buffaloes have four players averaging double figures in scoring in Askia Booker (15.1), Spencer Dinwiddie (14.2), Josh Scott (13.3) and Andre Roberson (11.8).
CLOSE SHAVES -- USC has won two consecutive games by two points. The last time USC won back-to-back games by two points or less was on Jan. 24, 2009 at Washington State (46-44) and Jan. 29, 2009 vs. Stanford (70-69).
IT'S WISE TO DIVERSIFY -- USC redshirt senior Eric Wise has been a stat-sheet stuffer this season for USC, ranking among the Trojans' leaders in most categories while averaging 11.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Among USC players, he ranks first in field goals made (62) and points (162), second in steals (15) and rebounds (64), tied for second in free throws made (26), third in blocks (7) and fourth in assists (20). Wise has been USC's leading scorer in eight of the 14 games and been the second-leading scorer twice. He also has scored in double figures in 11 of the 14 games. Wise ranks 11th in field goal percentage (53.4) among conference players.
DEFENSE TIGHTENING -- USC has held the opposition to an average of 56.2 points over the last five games, after surrendering an average of 67.9 points in the first nine games.
GUARDING THE LINE -- USC has allowed the opposition to make 37.1 percent of its three-point attempts this season, but has made adjustments and is holding opponents to 29.3 percent from beyond the arc in the last six games (29-for-99). In the first eight games USC's opponents made 42.1 percent of its three-point shots.
EXPERIENCED YOUTH - USC sophomore Byron Wesley has started every game since he came to USC (46) and has played more games as a Trojan than any player on the team. He is second in minutes played this season and last, and led all Pac-12 freshmen in minutes last season.
FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 23 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by seven points. USC's opponents have made 93 three-pointers to the Trojans' 66 and have made 26 more free throws.