USC Heads To Oregon This Week; Play Ducks Thursday
Jan. 17, 2012
USC (5-13, 0-5) will play at Oregon (13-5, 4-2) in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. The game will be shown in the northwest on Comcast SportsNet NW and will air on radio in Los Angeles on KLAA 830 AM. USC has lost a season-high six consecutive games, its longest losing streak since losing seven straight during the 2003 season.
BREAKING DOWN THE DUCKS -- Oregon is coming off a road sweep in Arizona, defeating Arizona State 67-58 on Jan. 12 and then Arizona 59-57 on Jan. 14. Transfer guard Devoe Joseph leads the Ducks in scoring with a 14.9 average, followed closely by junior forward E.J. Singler's 12.6 average. USC has lost four straight games to Oregon, but leads the all-time series 62-46. USC lost 68-62 at Oregon on opening night of the Matthew Knight Arena on Jan. 13, 2011.
USC FALLS TO CROSSTOWN RIVAL UCLA -- USC jumped out to a 6-2 lead after four minutes, but UCLA got hot and never slowed down rolling to a 66-47 win over USC at the Galen Center on Jan. 15 before 8,474 fans on the night USC retired the No. 23 jersey of Harold Miner. UCLA matched an opponent high to date of 66 points and shot 51.0 percent from the floor, just the fifth Trojan opponent to shoot over 50 percent. Conversely, USC shot 36.0 percent, its sixth consecutive game under 40 percent. The Bruins dominated the Trojans on the glass, 44-19. Travis Wear led UCLA with a game-high 19 points. Maurice Jones was the only Trojan in double figures with 13 points. USC shot 42.9 percent from the free throw line (9-for-21).
OREGON STATE ON DECK -- OSU (11-7, 1-5) lost both game last week in Arizona, first falling 81-73 in overtime at Arizona on Jan. 12 and then 76-66 at Arizona State on Jan. 14. They will host UCLA on Jan. 19 before facing USC on Jan. 21. OSU is led in scoring by junior guard Jared Cunningham's 17.6 average. The Beavers have six players averaging 9.0 or more points per game. 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 18 opponents to their lowest scoring output of the season to date. Seven of the last 11 opponents have scored under 60 points for a 55.3 average in that stretch. Unfortunately, USC has scored under 60 points 10 times in that stretch for an average of 51.3 points per game.
TROJANS SEEKING FIRST CONFERENCE WIN -- USC is off to an 0-5 start in Pac-12 play. They last time they started 0-5 in conference was the 2005 season. The last time USC lost more games to start conference play was the 1989 season when it began 0-12.
SLOW STARTS -- In 13 of its 18 games, USC has scored more points in the second half. In the last 10 games, USC has scored under 20 points in the first half six times, but scored 28 or more points in the second half in seven of those games. In the last 10 games, USC has averaged 21.4 first half points while shooting under 30 percent five times for a composite first-half shooting percentage of 32.4 percent. USC has shot under 30 percent only one time in the second half in the last 10 games (at Stanford, .261).
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 11.8 turnovers per game, 33rd best in the country. USC did not commit a turnover in the second half vs. ASU on Jan. 5 and finished with six total and followed that up with nine turnovers vs. Arizona on Jan. 8 and six vs. UCLA on Jan. 15. USC has had 12 or less turnovers in 11 games this season.
MOORE AND MOORE HE'S GETTING COMFORTABLE -- USC freshman guard Alexis Moore has started 11 times this season, including the last nine games. In his last eight games, he has averaged 8.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He ranks second on the team with 21 three-point baskets. Moore had a season-high five assists vs. Arizona on Jan. 8.
LET'S GIVE THE OPPONENTS SOME CREDIT... -- USC has struggled to score points this season, averaging 53.6 points per game and eight times being held under 50 points which has all been duly noted. What hasn't been mentioned is that three teams USC has faced rank in the top 16 and nine in the top third (out of 344 teams) in opponents scoring. Also, 6 of USC's 18 opponents rank in the top 25 in the country in opponents shooting percentage.
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. 16, the teams USC has played are a combined 199-113 (63.8 winning percentage) and 12 of the 18 teams have 10 or more wins and only four of the teams are under .500. USC's last 10 opponents have a combined record of 121-55.