USC To Play At No. 6 Arizona Saturday
Jan. 25, 2013
USC (8-12, 3-4) will play at No. 6 Arizona (16-2, 4-2) at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 26 at 5:00 p.m. (MT). USC is 4-4 in its last eight games and 1-2 under interim head coach Bob Cantu. USC is 2-25 in the last 27 games it has played at McKale Center.
BREAKING DOWN THE WILDCATS -- Arizona lost 84-73 vs. UCLA on Jan. 24 to drop its record to 9-1 at home this season. Arizona's only other loss this season was a 70-66 setback at Oregon on Jan. 10. Seniors Mark Lyons (15.2) and Solomon Hill (13.6) along with sophomore Nick Johnson (13.3) lead the Wildcats in scoring. Arizona leads the all-time series, 60-40. USC has lost its last three games to the Wildcats and four in a row at Arizona.
FONTAN FORCES OT, BUT TROJANS FALL AT ASU -- Jio Fontan's 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in regulation capped USC's miraculous comeback to force overtime, but ASU outscored the Trojans 13-8 in the extra period for a 98-93 victory on Jan. 24 in Tempe, Ariz. USC trailed by 9 with just over 2 minutes left in regulation and by 6 with 27 seconds left, which is when J.T. Terrell hit two three-pointers and Fontan one to force overtime. Fontan matched a career high with 25 points and Terrell added 20. ASU outshot USC 36-13 from the free throw line.
TRIP TO NEW PAULEY ON DECK -- Following the game at Arizona, USC will return home to Los Angeles and then travel crosstown to take on UCLA (16-4, 6-1) at the renovated Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. USC trails in the all-time series with UCLA 104-132 and lost all three meetings last season to run its current losing streak to UCLA to four. Prior to that, USC had won the previous four games in the series. USC is 4-5 in the last nine games at Pauley Pavilion. Freshmen Shabazz Muhammad (18.2) and Jordan Adams (15.2) lead the Bruins in scoring.
CANTU'S CARDIAC KIDS -- In the three games that Bob Cantu has led the Trojans, they have lost by two points after missing three shots just before the buzzer, won by one point by sinking a layup with four second left and then forced overtime with a late 3-pointer before falling. It has actually gone on longer than that, as four of the last eight Trojan games have been decided by two points or less and USC is 3-1 in those games. Also, nine of the last 10 games have been decided by eight points or less.
NOT SO FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 33 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 10 points. USC's opponents have made 125 three-pointers to the Trojans' 107 and have made 58 more free throws. In 10 of the last 12 games USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponents, yet is 5-7 in that stretch. USC has also had as many or more baskets in six of the 12 losses this season.
OFFENSE STARTING TO CLICK -- USC has averaged 72.4 points in the first seven conference games this season, tied for third in points per game among Pac-12 schools. Also, USC leads all Pac-12 teams with a 46.4 shooting percentage in conference games. USC has shot over 40 percent from the field in 12 of the last 13 games, after accomplishing the feat just three times in the first seven games.
STAR 69, DO YOU RECALL? -- USC has scored 69 points or more in four consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 11-Dec. 15, 2008 when it accomplished the feat for six consecutive games. USC did not score more than 62 points in the final 20 games of the 2011-12 season and scored over 66 points just once last season. The 93 points at ASU on Jan. 24 were the most by USC since also scoring 93 in overtime vs. California on March 6, 2008.
A FOUL TIME -- In the seven conference games, USC has been called for 37 more fouls (146-109) than its opponent which has led to 33 more points (86-119). In the seven games conference games, USC trails its opponents by a composite score of 508-507.
SLOW STARTS, STRONG FINISHES -- USC has been outscored 667-607 in the first half, while winning the second halves and overtime by a combined score of 714-664. USC has also been outrebounded by 36 in the first half of games, while owning a 42-rebound edge in the second half. The same can be said about the turnover category where USC has 147 in the first half of games and 123 in the second half. The biggest descrepancy is on the defensive side, where USC has allowed opposition teams to shoot 44.5 percent in the first half (245-for-550), including a 40.5 percentage from three-point range (70-for-173), while holding them to a 38.8 FG percentage (209-for-539) and a 32.9 three-point FG percentage (55-for-167) in the second half and overtime of games.
ASSISTS KEEP POURING OUT OF THE FONTAN -- USC redshirt senior point guard Jio Fontan has averaged 4.9 assists per game this season, third among Pac-12 players. He has had a season-best nine assists twice, vs. Marquette on Nov. 21 and at home vs. San Diego State on Nov. 25. Fontan sat out all of last season due to a torn ACL. In 24 games for USC in the 2010-11 season, he averaged 3.9 assists and 10.5 points. He had at least 4 assists in 7 consecutive games and in 13 of the 16 games this season, before not playing the second half at Colorado. He bounced back from the intercostal muscle strain to have 13 points, 6 assists and one turnover at Utah on Jan. 12. He set his Trojan high and matched a career high with 25 points at ASU on Jan. 24. His 5th three-pointer came with 0.4 seconds left and sent the game into overtime. The 5 3-pointers also matched a career high.
IT'S A FINE LINE -- This season USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponent in 14 of the 20 games, including eight of the last nine. On Dec. 8 vs. Minnesota, USC lost 71-57 despite both teams making 23 baskets. The difference was Minnesota made 6 three-pointers to USC's one and made nine more free throws than USC. On Dec. 22 at Georgia, the Trojans and Bulldogs both made 22 baskets, but Georgia made 11 more free throws. USC had 4 more baskets than Cal on Jan. 5, but had 13 less points from the free throw line. On Jan. 24 at ASU, USC had three more baskets, including making 6 more three-pointers but was outscored 25-8 at the free throw line.