USC Faces Crosstown Rival UCLA Sunday At Galen
Jan. 12, 2012
USC (5-12, 0-4) will host UCLA (9-7, 2-2) at the Galen Center on Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. USC has lost a season-high 5 consecutive games and 8 of 9 games overall. The last time USC lost more than 5 consecutive games was when they lost 7 straight during the 2003 season. The game will be televised on FSN with Gus Johnson and Steve Kerr calling the action. There will also be a separate postgame show on Prime Ticket with Lindsay Soto, Bob Boyd and Don MacLean.
BE PART OF IT...MINER JERSEY TO BE RETIRED -- USC will be retiring the No. 23 uniform of Harold Miner tonight. Miner will be in attendance at the game and among the festivities will be a Harold Miner bobblehead giveaway to 2000 lucky fans and a Fanfest in the Hall of Fame area of the Galen Center with face painting, pop-a-shot, sign making, the Dance Force, the Song Girls, posters, video games and much more. Fans can purchase tickets to that game by calling the USC Ticket office at (213) 740-GOSC (4672). Miner is USC's all-time scoring leader with 2,048 points in three seasons. His 23.5 career scoring average is the most by a Trojan as is his 19 30-point games. In 1992 Miner was the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year, AP First-Team All-American and Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year when he averaged 26.3 points per game while leading USC to a 24-6 record.
BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS -- UCLA is coming off a home sweep of the Arizona schools, defeating ASU 75-58 on Jan. 7 and Arizona 65-58 on Jan. 5. The Bruins have won 7 of their last 9 games. Guard Lazeric Jones leads UCLA in scoring with a 13.2 average, but the Bruins have 4 other players averaging over 9 points per game. USC and UCLA split the season series last season with each team winning its home game and the series is tied 11-11 in the past 10 seasons. USC has won 4 of the last 5 meetings, but trails in the all-time series, 104-129.
ARIZONA DEFEATS USC -- USC continued its shooting woes managing only a season-low 29.3 percent and fell 57-46 to Arizona at the Galen Center on Jan. 8. USC made barely over 20 percent from the floor in the first half and trailed at the break 32-16. The Trojans rebounded to win the second half, 30-25, but could not make up the deficit. Maurice Jones led USC with 14 points and Dewayne Dedmon added 11 points and 8 rebounds.
TRIP TO OREGON ON DECK -- Next week USC will make the trip to Oregon to face the Ducks on Jan. 19 in Eugene and then the Oregon State Beavers on Jan. 21 in Corvallis. This season USC will only be facing these two teams on the road. Oregon (11-5, 2-2) will play at the Arizona schools this week before hosting USC. Transfer guard Devoe Joseph leads the Ducks in scoring with a 15.1 average, followed closely by junior forward E.J. Singler's 12.8 average. USC has lost four straight games to Oregon, but leads the all-time series 62-46. After traveling to Arizona, Oregon State (11-5, 1-3) will host UCLA on Jan. 19 before facing USC. The Beavers are led in scoring by junior guard Jared Cunningham's 17.6 average. USC and OSU split the 2010-11 season series and USC leads the all-time series 67-58.
HOLDING THEM DOWN -- USC has held 7 of its 17 opponents to their lowest scoring output of the season to date. Seven of the last 10 opponents have scored under 60 points for a 54.2 average in that stretch. Unfortunately, USC has scored under 60 points nine times in that stretch for an average of 51.7 points per game.
SLOW CONFERENCE STARTS THE NORM FOR USC -- USC is off to an 0-4 start in Pac-12 play. They last time they started 0-4 in conference was the 2005. Including this season, USC's best five-game start to conference play in the last 10 years has been 3-2 (3 times).
FACING THE BEST -- USC's 2011-12 schedule features 22 of 31 games against teams which finished the 2010-11 season with a record of .500 or better. Among the nonconference highlights were games against perennial national powers Kansas, UNLV, New Mexico, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina and Georgia. Through games of Jan. 11, the teams USC has played are a combined 172-96 (64.2 winning percentage) and 10 of the 17 teams have 10 or more wins and only three of the teams are under .500. USC's last 9 opponents have a combined record of 100-45.
MOORE AND MOORE HE'S GETTING COMFORTABLE -- USC freshman guard Alexis Moore has started 10 times this season, including the last eight games. In his last seven games, he has averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He ranks second on the team with 20 three-point baskets. Moore had a season-high five assists vs. Arizona on Jan. 8.
LET'S GIVE THE DEFENSE SOME CREDIT... -- USC has struggled to score points this season, averaging 53.9 points per game and seven times being held under 50 points which has all been duly noted. What hasn't been mentioned is that six of the first 17 teams USC has faced rank in the top 50 and 10 in the top 68 (out of 344 teams) in opponents scoring. Also, 11 of USC's 17 opponents rank in the top 95 in the country in opponents shooting percentage.
SLUMPING SHOOTERS -- USC has shot under 40 percent from the floor the last five games and have a 34.1 shooting percentage in that stretch (90-for-264). USC is 6-for-35 (17.1 percent) from three-point range the last three games.
FRESHMAN FOUNDATION - USC freshmen guards Byron Wesley and Alexis Moore look to be providing the Trojans with good building blocks for the future. Through 17 games, Wesley is the fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder on the team with averages of 6.8 and 4.8 respectively. He is also second on the team in assists with 29. Moore is fifth on the team with a 5.8 scoring average and is second on the team in three-point baskets (20). Wesley has started every game and his 33.1 minutes per game played are the most by a freshman in the Pac-12.
THE YOUNG AND SURE-HANDED - As a young team playing with no senior scholarship players and just three scholarship players who had played in the USC system before, USC has committed just 12.1 turnovers per game (top 12 percent in country). USC did not commit a turnover in the second half vs. Arizona State on Jan. 5 and finished with six total and followed that up with just nine turnovers vs. Arizona on Jan. 8. USC has had 12 or less turnovers in 10 games this season.
MIGHTY MO -- USC's Maurice Jones is second the country in minutes played per game, averaging 38.65 through the first 17 games, one of only four players in the country averaging more than 38.0 minutes per game.
FULLER FIGHTING THROUGH THE PAIN -- USC forward Aaron Fuller ranks second on the team with a 10.8 scoring average and leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game despite playing all season with a bilateral labrum tear in his left shoulder, his shooting shoulder. He has mainly shot right-handed this season, but now also has a slight tear in his right shoulder suffered on the trip to the Bay Area and had to come out of the game vs. Arizona on Jan. 8 after only 11 minutes played. He scored in double-figures the first 6 games, but only 3 games since.
A BIG HILL TO CLIMB -- When starting point guard and senior leader Jio Fontan went down with a knee injury in August it left USC with just 19.7 percent of its scoring returning and 12.4 percent of its rebounding returning entering the 2011-12 season. In terms of returning scoring for teams from BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12), only 3 schools: St. Johns (3.7 percent), Boston College (10.8 percent) and Texas (17.0 percent) have a lower percentage of returning production. There were only eight schools in the country which entered the season with less than 20 percent of its scoring returning from a season ago.
TROJANS TAKE ROUTE 66 -- USC has held its opponents to an average of 55.9 points per game (10th lowest in the country) and has not allowed an opponent to score more than 66 points this season. It is the first time USC has started a season holding the opposition to 66 points or less for the first 17 games since the 1948 season when it held all 24 opponents to under 66 points.