USC Returns To Galen To Face California On Wednesday|
Jan. 6, 2015
The USC Trojans (8-6, 0-2) will host the California Golden Bears (11-4, 1-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. The game will air on ESPNU and AM 690. USC has lost two consecutive games for the first time this season and is 6-3 in its last nine games.
BREAKING DOWN CALIFORNIA -- California fell 69-66 at home to Washington State on Jan. 4, after opening Pac-12 play with an 81-75 home win vs. No. 21 Washington on Jan. 2. Junior guard Tyrone Wallace has led the Bears with an 18.9 scoring average and in rebounds with 8.6 per game. 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. USC and Cal have split the past 18 games during the last eight seasons (9-9). Cuonzo Martin is in his first season as the head coach of California.
USC BOWLED OVER IN BOULDER -- Colorado used a 14-0 run late in the first half to open up a double-digit lead and never looked back in a 86-65 win over USC on Jan. 4 in Boulder, Colo. The Trojans were playing their first game without injured starting point guard Jordan McLaughlin and the Buffaloes were without injured forward Josh Scott. Nikola Jovanovic led USC with 14 points, while Julian Jacobs got the start at the point and scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Askia Booker scored 18 points and Dustin Thomas added a career-high 17 for Colorado. USC trailed 43-27 at the half and any hope of a comeback seemed dashed when Colorado made four consecutive 3-pointers to open up a 55-33 lead four minutes into the second half. USC cut the lead back to 14 with 5:54 left, but Colorado responded by making eight of its next 10 shots to maintain a comfortable lead. Colorado outscored USC 23-0 on fastbreak points and 20-8 on points off of turnovers.
STANFORD UP NEXT AT GALEN -- USC's next game will be against Stanford (10-3, 2-0) at the Galen Center on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. The Cardinal have three players averaging more than 14 points per game in Chasson Randle (18.8), Stefan Nastic (14.2) and Anthony Brown (14.1). Stanford has won four consecutive games, including overtime wins against then No. 9 Texas and then No. 21 Washington. Stanford plays at UCLA on Jan. 8 before facing USC. The all-time series is tied at 122-122, but Stanford won both games last season. In each of the past four seasons the teams have alternated sweeping the season series and they have split the last 12 games.
OFFENSE IMPROVING -- USC has averaged 71.7 points per game in the last seven 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 at Utah, 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 his last six games, while making 10 three-pointers.
JOVANOVIC DOUBLING DOWN -- Sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic has scored in double figures the last nine games. In the nine games he has four double-doubles and averaged 14.2 points (128 total) and 9.2 rebounds (83 total).
THE DEFENSE RESTS -- On the road trip to Utah and Colorado, the opposition made 56.0 percent of its shots (61-for-109), including 52.9 percent of its three-point shots (18-for-34). Prior to those two games, USC had held its opponents to 38.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 29.3 percent from three-point range. Still, USC has held seven of 14 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 41.1 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.
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 58.8 percent of its free throws in the last nine games (97-for-165). USC is shooting 61.0 percent from the free throw line this season and has only topped 70 percent in one of its first 14 games (70.6 percent vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17. USC has taken 40 more free throws (290-250) than its opponents, but has made just four more free throws (177-173).
DOING SOME ROAD WORK -- USC is 2-2 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).
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 three games has scored a total of 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.
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 12.2 turnovers the past 11 games (134 total), after averaging 18.7 in the first three games of the season (56 total). USC has also forced 13.9 turnovers by its opponent in the last 11 games (153 total), after generating only 10.7 in the first three games.
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