USC Hosts Stanford At Galen On Sunday|
Jan. 10, 2015
The USC Trojans (9-6, 1-2) will host the Stanford Cardinal (10-4, 2-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. The game will air on ESPNU and AM 690. USC is 7-3 in its last 10 games.
BREAKING DOWN STANFORD -- Stanford is coming off an 86-81 double-overtime loss at UCLA on Jan. 8. That loss snapped a four-game winning streak and was Stanford's third overtime game in its last five contests. Senior guard Chasson Randle leads Stanford and the conference in scoring with a 19.8 average. Also, senior forward Anthony Brown averages 14.6 and senior center Stefan Nastic averages 13.9 points per game. The Cardinal posted wins over then No. 9 Texas on Dec. 23 and then No. 21 Washington on Jan. 4. 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.
USC DEFEATS CAL IN PAC-12 HOME OPENER -- Nikola Jovanovic scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead USC past California 71-57 on Jan. 7 at the Galen Center for its first conference win. Julian Jacobs scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half and had five assists for the Trojans who were playing their second consecutive game without starting point guard Jordan McLaughlin. Katin Reinhardt hit both of USC's three-pointers and finished with 16 points. The Trojans were just 2 of 15 (13.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Jovanovic was 9 of 14 from the field to help USC shoot 42.6 percent. USC held California to 35.4 percent shooting, including 20.0 percent from 3-point range. Tyrone Wallace scored 21 points and Jordan Mathews added 17 for the Golden Bears. USC trailed 6-4 early and then scored 19 of the game's next 21 points, led by Reinhardt's eight points, and held a 38-29 advantage at the break. California got no closer than seven points in the second half. USC made 17 of 20 free throws for a season-best 85.0 percent from the line. The Trojans also committed a season-low to date eight turnovers.
CROSSTOWN RIVAL UCLA UP NEXT -- UCLA (9-7, 1-2) defeated Stanford 86-81 in double-overtime on Jan. 8 to snap a five-game losing streak and will host California on Jan. 11 before facing USC. UCLA is led in scoring by sophomore guard Bryce Alford's 15.6 points per game, but all five starters are averaging in double-figures. Freshman forward Kevon Looney is averaging a double-double with 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game through the Bruins' first 16 games. UCLA is 0-3 in true road games this season. UCLA leads the all-time series with USC, 135-104, and has won the last three meetings.
OFFENSE IMPROVING -- USC has averaged 71.6 points per game in the last eight 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 was forced to miss the games against Colorado and California. Despite the injury holding him to six points at Utah, he averaged 14.7 points in his 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.
YOU'VE BEEN SERBED! -- USC sophomore Nikola Jovanovic from Belgrade, Serbia and junior Strahinja Gavrilovic from Kragujevac, Serbia have teamed up to provide the Trojans with a strong interior presence this season. Jovanovic has averaged 12.6 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game. He also scored in double figures in each of the last 10 games with averages of 14.8 points (148 total) and 9.2 rebounds (92 total) in that span. Gavrilovic has averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season. He has scored in double figures five times in 15 games this season, after reaching 10 or more points twice in his first two seasons.
USC TOED THE LINE AGAINST CAL -- USC made 17 of 20 free throws in the win vs. California on Jan. 7, USC's best effort from the line this season. USC had made only 58.8 percent of its free throws in the previous nine games (97-for-165). USC was 15-for-28 (.536) from the free throw line in the overtime loss to Army on Dec. 13. USC is shooting 62.6 percent from the free throw line this season and has only topped 70 percent in two of its first 15 games (70.6 percent vs. Tennessee Tech and 85.0 percent vs. Cal). USC has taken 49 more free throws (310-261) than its opponents, but has made just 14 more free throws (194-180).
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC has won the battle of the boards 11 times in 15 games, including 10 of the last 11 games. For the season, USC has outrebounded its opponents 578-500. USC's season high for rebounds was 51 vs. Penn State on Nov. 23.
GAINING EXPERIENCE -- Eleven of the 13 players to appear in a game for USC this season are either freshmen or sophomores. USC's freshmen and sophomores have logged 91.0 percent of the team's minutes. Despite Malik Martin (3+ games) and Jordan McLaughlin (2+ games) missing time due to injury, USC's four freshmen had combined to play 38.1 percent of USC's minutes this season.
DEFENSE BOUNCES BACK -- USC held California to 35.4 percent shooting, including 20.0 percent from three-point range in the win on Jan. 7. 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 eight of 15 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 40.7 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.
JACOBS TURNED IT UP A NOTCH FOR PAC-12 PLAY -- Sophomore guard Julian Jacobs has stepped up his game since conference play began. In USC's first three conference games, Jacobs is second on the team with a 12.7 scoring average, whill grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game. Jacobs also leads the team with 14 assists in the first three Pac-12 games. His 4.7 assists per game ranked third in the conference through games of Jan. 8.
SHORTAGE OF THREES -- USC enters tonight's game with the fewest amount of three-pointers made (67) for any Pac-12 team. In 12 of USC's first 15 games, the team has made four three-pointers or less. USC has made 67 compared to its opponent's 101 three-pointers, but has made 93 less attempts from beyond the arc.
THIS AND THAT FROM THE STATS -- USC is 5-2 this season when making 15 or more free throws, with the two setbacks being a 63-61 lost to Penn State (18-for-27, .667) and a 85-77 overtime loss to Army (15-for-28, .536). USC is also 6-2 when it registers four or more blocks in a game. USC has won the opening tip-off four times in the last 13 games. USC is 8-1 when having a better shooting percentage than its opponent and 7-2 when committing less turnovers than the opposition.
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 four games has scored a total of 34 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Martin has averaged 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in USC's first three Pac-12 games.
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 11.8 turnovers the past 12 games (142 total), after averaging 18.7 in the first three games of the season (56 total). USC has also forced 13.8 turnovers by its opponent in the last 12 games (166 total), after generating only 10.7 in the first three games.