USC Hosts No. 21 Oregon Thursday At Galen
Jan. 16, 2013
USC (7-10, 2-2) will be hosting No. 21 Oregon (14-2, 3-0) at the Galen Center on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. USC is 3-2 in its last five games and the 2-2 start in Pac-12 play matches the Trojans' best conference start since going 3-1 to open the 2006-07 season.
CANTU TAKES OVER -- Bob Cantu has been named interim head coach, taking over for Kevin O'Neill who was relieved of his duties on Jan. 14. Cantu is in his 12 season with the USC basketball program and 17th at the collegiate level. In 2011, he was thrust into the head coach's role hours before USC's Pac-10 Tournament semifinal game against regular season champion Arizona. The Trojans under Cantu took Arizona down to the wire before losing, 67-62.
BREAKING DOWN THE DUCKS -- Oregon (14-2, 3-0) is coming off home wins vs. Arizona on Jan. 10 (70-66) and Arizona State on Jan. 13 (68-65). Oregon is second in the conference in scoring at 76.4 points per game and its balanced attack is led in by freshman Damyean Dotson who is averaging 11.8 points per game, but all five starters are averaging in double figures. USC leads the all-time series against Oregon 62-47, but the Ducks have won the last five games.
USC ROLLS TO ROAD VICTORY -- Back in the starting lineup for the first time in seven games, J.T. Terrell scored a team-high 14 points and the Trojans rolled to a 76-59 win at Utah on Jan. 12 to snap a string of 14 straight road losses. Dewayne Dedmon had 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Trojans, while Jio Fontan and Byron Wesley also scored 13 points each. The Utes were within 50-42 on Jarred DuBois' 3-pointer with 10:26 remaining, but USC went on a 7-0 run, led by Dedmon's put-back dunk off a missed free throw. Terrell's steal and fast-break layup, then two free throws by Terrell after a technical foul on the Utah bench, gave USC a 57-42 lead and the lead was never under double digits after that. USC shot 50 percent for the game, while holding Utah to 37.5 percent from the floor.
OREGON STATE ON DECK -- Oregon State (10-6, 0-3) will play at UCLA on Jan. 17 before taking on USC. The Beavers have opened Pac-12 play with home losses to Oregon, Arizona State and Arizona. Oregon State has six players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Roberto Nelson with a 15.4 average. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon State, 67-59.
NOT SO FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 31 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 4 points. USC's opponents have made 106 three-pointers to the Trojans' 82 and have made 42 more free throws. In eight of the last nine games USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponents, yet is 4-5 in that stretch. USC has also had as many or more baskets in five of the 10 losses this season.
NICE TIME TO START...! -- Everyone knows about USC's early season tough schedule with five of seven games against teams currently ranked in the top 25, but interim head coach Bob Cantu is not catching any breaks either. USC is set to play No. 21 Oregon (14-2) at home tonight, then hosts Oregon State (10-6) on Jan 19, then plays at ASU (14-3) on Jan. 24, at No. 7 Arizona (15-1) on Jan. 26 and at No. 24 UCLA (14-3) on Jan. 30. The teams have a combined 67-15 record and the three games on the road will be against teams that are a combined 30-2 at home this season.
DEFENSE TIGHTENING -- USC has held the opposition to an average of 59.7 points over the last eight games, after surrendering an average of 67.9 points in the first nine games.
GUARDING THE LINE -- USC has allowed the opposition to make 36.9 percent of its three-point attempts this season, but has made adjustments and is holding opponents to 31.6 percent from beyond the arc in the last nine games (42-for-133). In the first eight games USC's opponents made 42.1 percent of its three-point shots.
A FOUL SITUATION -- In the first three Pac-12 games, USC was called for 23 more fouls (65-42) and was outshot 75-44 from the free throw line. In the fourth conference game at Utah, the Utes had 19 fouls to USC's 18 and the Trojans had five more free throw attempts. It was the first game since Dec. 20 vs. UC Irvine that the Trojans took more free throws than their opponent.
DEDMON'S LAST 5 GAMES -- Dewayne Dedmon has averaged 10.8 points (54 points), 8.4 rebounds (42 rebounds) and 3.0 blocks in the last five games, scoring in double figures each time.
CANTU'S CORNER -- Bob Cantu was named interim head coach on Jan. 14. He is in his 12th season with the USC men's basketball program, and his 17th overall at the collegiate level. He was promoted to associate head coach on April 8, 2010 by former head coach Kevin O'Neill. Cantu has remained on the USC staff through four coaching regimes and entered the season as the longest tenured assistant coach in the Pac-12. During Cantu's tenure, 11 players from USC have played or are currently playing in the NBA, including five first round draft picks from 2007-11, more than any Pac-12 school. During the period of 2007-09 the Trojans went 85-50, reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 with a school-record 25 wins in 2006-07 and finishing the season ranked No. 15 in the final AP poll. In 2007-08 the Trojans went 21-12 and in 2009 season they went 22-13, while winning the Pac-10 Tournament championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament, making it a school-record three consecutive seasons. USC made the 2011 tournament too, making it four consecutive appearances when eligible. During Cantu's tenure the Trojans have made 5 NCAA appearances. In the 2010-11 season Cantu was thrust into the head coach's chair hours before the Pac-10 semifinal game vs. regular season champion Arizona and the Trojans took them down to the wire in a 67-62 setback.