USC Hosts No. 10/No. 7 UCLA At The Galen Center Sunday
Jan. 8, 2009
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans (10-4, 1-1) will host the UCLA Bruins (12-2, 2-0) at the Galen Center on Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. USC has won seven of its last nine games with the losses being by one point at No. 6 Oklahoma and in overtime at Oregon St. USC is 8-0 at home to start the season, the best start at home since opening the 2000-01 season 10-0. The game will be aired on FSN with Ted Robinson and Marques Johnson calling the action and Michael Eaves doing the sideline reporting.
BREAKING DOWN THE RIVAL BRUINS -- UCLA (No. 10 AP-No. 7 ESPN/USA Today) is off to a 12-2 start this season, including opening 2-0 on the road in Pac-10 Conference play. Senior guard Darren Collison leads UCLA in scoring with a 15.0 average. USC trails 100-126 in the all-time series and was 1-2 last season against the Bruins. USC is 7-8 in its last 15 games vs. UCLA after losing 57-54 in the Pac-10 Tournament semi-finals last season. USC is 0-2 at the Galen Center vs. UCLA, falling 65-64 in 2007 and 56-46 in 2008. However, USC has won five of the last nine home games against the Bruins.
TROJANS FALL IN OVERTIME AT OREGON ST. -- USC let a 15-point second-half lead slip away and fell 62-58 in overtime at Oregon State on Jan. 4 in Corvallis, Ore. The Trojans led 42-27 with just over 12 minutes left in the game, but the Beavers hit five of their final six three-pointers, including one by center Roeland Schaftenaar with 1.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime tied at 54. In the extra period, USC was 1-fo-7 while OSU was 3-for-3 from the field. The win snapped a 21-game regular season Pac-10 losing streak for Oregon State. OSU hit 50 percent of its shots in the game to USC's 44.2 percent, just the second time this season the Trojans have been outshot by an opponent.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. No. 20 Arizona State on Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center. The Sun Devils are 12-2, 1-1 in conference play, and will host the Oregon schools before traveling to Los Angeles. Sophomore James Harden leads ASU and all conference players with a 23.4 scoring average. USC was 2-1 vs. the Sun Devils last season and own a 46-31 record all-time against Arizona State. The Sun Devils were a preseason pick to finish second in the Pac-10.
GIBSON REACHES MILESTONES -- Taj Gibson had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks at Oregon on Jan. 2. The two blocks gave him 196 in his career and established a new school record. Sam Clancy (1999-02) had the previous record of 195 blocks. Gibson also ended the game with 1,008 career points, becoming the 33rd Trojan in school history to reach the 1,000 points scored plateau. He has upped those totals to 197 career blocks and 1,023 points after the game on Jan. 4 at Oregon State.
DEROZAN DELIVERING DOUBLE-- USC freshman DeMar DeRozan had 14 points and 12 rebounds at Oregon on Jan. 2 for his first career double-double. The 12 rebounds were also a season high. DeRozan has reached double figures in scoring in nine straight games and in 11 of 14 games. In the last five games, DeRozan has averaged 15.4 points (77) and 6.2 rebounds (31). Entering play this week, DeRozan ranks 19th among conference players in scoring with an 11.8 average.
IN TIM WE TRUST -- Tim Floyd has an impressive track record in the collegiate ranks along with his NBA experience. He brings 21 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate and NBA levels and owns a 316-171 record in his 16 seasons as a college head coach at Idaho (1987-88), New Orleans (1989-94), Iowa State (1995-98) and USC (2005-08). He won his 300th career game on Feb. 7, 2008 at Washington. Floyd posted a 63-37 record in his first three seasons as USC's head coach (the most wins by a Trojan coach in his first three seasons) and is 73-41 overall at the helm of the Trojans. Ten of his first 15 seasons, Floyd has taken his team into the postseason (7 NCAA, 3 NIT). Floyd has helped the development of his student-athletes at each stop, as 13 players in his 15 years have made it to the NBA, including three players that did not even play high school ball.
Marcus Johnson RETURNS TO THE COURT -- USC guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, has been cleared for competition and has played the last three games. In his first game for USC vs. ORU, Johnson scored six points, grabbed two rebounds and had three steals. In the two games in Oregon, he combined to score 10 points, along with 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. The 6-6 swingman played in 51 games at UConn, making 24 starts and averaging 4.9 points per game. He played in part of one exhibition game last season before transferring and thus had to sit out the first semester. He has a career high of 20 points on Dec. 18, 2005 vs. UNH.
A HISTORY OF WINNING -- The Trojans have compiled a record of 1,448-1,033 in their 103 years of intercollegiate basketball competition. The Trojans have had a .500 or better record in 73 of the first 102 seasons.
TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS -- USC is not currently ranked. USC began the season ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and CBSSportsline.com Poll.
USC PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-10-- At the annual Pac-10 Media Day held on Oct. 30, USC was picked to finish third in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the league media. UCLA was picked first with 379 votes, followed by Arizona State (325), USC (292), Arizona (241), Washington (217), Washington State (188), Oregon (147), California (143), Stanford (115) and Oregon State (40). USC was picked to finish sixth in 2007-08 and finished tied for third with an 11-7 record. USC was also 11-7 and tied for third during the 2006-07 season and is attempting to win in double figures in Pac-10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in history.
GIBSON A PRESEASON WOODEN AWARD CANDIDATE -- For the second consecutive season, USC forward Taj Gibson is listed as one of the 50 preseason Wooden Award candidates. Gibson is the first Trojan so listed since 2001 when Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal were Wooden Award candidates and Clancy was a Naismith candidate. Gibson averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore, while setting the USC single-season blocked shots record with 83. Gibson is also listed as an Athlon Preseason All-American (HM) and No. 6 on Lindy's list of top centers.
DEROZAN NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM -- USC freshman DeMar DeRozan has been named to the CollegeHoops.net All-Freshman team. DeRozan was a McDonald's All-American and averaged 29.2 points his senior season at Compton High in Compton, Calif. Athlon Sports also named DeRozan to the preseason Pac-10 all-conference third team. DeRozan is also listed as a third-team selection to The Sporting News Preseason All-America team, the No. 9 small forward by Lindy's and the No. 3 freshman by Lindy's.
STEPHESON WAIVER PETITION DENIED -- Talented forward Alex Stepheson had his transfer waiver petition denied by the NCAA on Nov. 19 and will not be eligible for competition this season. Stepheson had requested eligibility for USC this season after transferring from North Carolina this fall due to family health concerns.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR -- USC's roster includes four players from outside of the country. Guards Daniel Hackett from Italy and Ryan Wetherell from Canada begin their third season with the Trojans, while forward Mamadou Diarra of Mali enters his second and forward Nikola Vucevic from Montenegro begins his first season at USC.
INJURY UPDATES -- Kasey Cunningham, injured on Nov. 23 vs. Missouri, had reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee on Nov. 26. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Guard Ryan Wetherell has an eye injury and is expected to miss at least several more games. Forward Leonard Washington suffered a high left ankle sprain on Dec. 22...an MRI was negative and he is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Guard Marcus Simmon's surgically repaired left ankle is sore and he is listed as day-to-day.
GAUNTLET UPDATE -- Entering today's action between USC and UCLA in men's and women's basketball, the Trojans lead 25-10 in the Lexus Gauntlet competition. The winner of each basketball game will earn five points for its respective school.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson has averaged 15.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in USC's first 14 games, including seven double-doubles giving him 23 in his career. The last Trojan to average a double-double was Jaha Wilson in 1994-95 (14.2 pts/10.1 reb.). The 25 points on Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine was a career high and the 18 rebounds on Nov. 20 vs. SHU and Dec. 20 vs. NDSU tied a career high. His 18 rebounds vs. Seton Hall, along with SHU's John Garcia, established a new Puerto Rico Tip-Off single-game record.
HE CAN SURE HACKETT -- Junior point guard Daniel Hackett recorded a career-high 13 assists in the game at Oklahoma on Dec. 4. His assist total was the most by a Trojan since Brandon Granville set the school record with 15 vs. Memphis on Nov. 23, 1999. Hackett's 13 assists are tied for the fourth most in a single game by a USC player, along with Larry Friend (13 on Dec. 6, 1985 vs. ASU) and Casey Jones (13 on Dec. 18, 1976 vs. Baylor). Hackett leads all conference players with 84 assists.
HACKETT IS MONEY FROM THE LINE -- USC junior Daniel Hackett made .823 percent of his free throws last season (79 of 96) to finish fifth among Pac-10 players from the line. He is 53-for-63 this season (.841) and his career free throw percentage of .815 (216 of 265) currently places him first all-time among Trojan players (2nd - Harold Miner - .814). Hackett made his first 11 free throws on Dec. 22 vs. Georgia Tech before missing his final one. He had made 19 consecutive free throws before the miss and has hit 64 of his last 74 (.865).
LEWIS LIGHTING IT UP -- Junior Dwight Lewis has made a team-leading 24 three-pointers this season and 75 in his career to move into 20th place on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list. Current USC Associate Athletic Director Brandon Martin (1993-96) is 19th with 77 career three-pointers made. Lewis scored a career-high 26 points in the 74-69 win vs. USF on Dec. 1 and followed that up with 25 points at Oklahoma on Dec. 4, at the time his two best career scoring outputs. He matched his career high with 26 points at Oregon on Jan. 2, including making a career-high four three-pointers. Lewis scored in double figures in a career-high nine straight games to start this season and in 12 of 14 games overall. Prior to this season, his longest streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures was four.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 8-0 at the Galen Center this season and have won 12 consecutive home games dating back to 2007-08, a new Galen Center record. USC's record for most consecutive wins in one season at the Galen Center is nine consecutive games Nov. 18-Dec. 28, 2006 during the inaugural season. The last time USC won more consecutive home games to start a season was the 2000-01 season when they began 10-0 at home which was part of a 12-game home winning streak as they ended the previous season with two victories at home. The last time USC won more consecutive home games was Jan. 16, 1992-Jan. 7, 1993 when they won 14 straight.
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2008-09 schedule features a potential 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2007-08, including 13 that won 20 or more games. Also, eight of the teams that USC is set to face were in last year's tournament, including two games each with the five other Pac-10 teams which were in the NCAA Tournament. USC's opponents have a combined 103-95 record through games of Jan. 6 (99-85 if you take out the result against USC). Four of USC's opponents are a combined 14-43, while the other 10 are 89-52. Nine of USC's 14 opponents have a .500 or better record and eight of those teams have won eight or more games.
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost four games this season, they led most of the way against Seton Hall (9-6), Missouri (13-2) and Oregon St. (6-6) and fell by a point at then No. 6 Oklahoma (14-1). The combined record of the teams USC lost to is 42-15.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 46 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 114 games as USC's head coach, including seven this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 60 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 114 games under Floyd, eight times this season. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only twice this season (Missouri & Oregon St.). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 71 of the last 84 games.
TROJANS WINNING THE BOARD GAME -- USC outrebounded the opposition in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by Oral Roberts on Dec. 29, but has had a rebounding edge in 13 of 14 games this season. USC has enjoyed a 8.5 rebound edge per game (39.4-30.9). USC had the same amount of rebounds as its opponents last season, and lost the battle of the boards the two previous seasons. The 11 consecutive games USC had more rebounds than its opponent is the best stretch in the Tim Floyd era. USC was outrebounded in 17 of 33 games last season.
TROJANS ALL-ACCESS PROVIDES EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE -- USC offered 11 games this season exclusively on Trojans All-Access, as the only video coverage. Fans can sign up at USCTrojans.com and watch selected games on their computers. The remaining game to be shown exclusively on Trojans All-Access is Jan. 15 vs. Arizona St. (delayed).