USC Hosts Utah Saturday
Jan. 27, 2012
USC (5-16, 0-8) will host Utah (5-15, 2-6) at the Galen Center on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. USC has lost a season-high nine consecutive games, its longest losing streak since losing 13 straight during the 1989 season. USC lost 10 straight to end the 1996 season, but a loss to California was later forfeited by the Bears. The game will air on Prime Ticket with Paul Sunderland & Brandon Granville calling the action and Amy Bender proving sideline commentary.
BREAKING DOWN THE UTES -- Utah is coming off a 76-49 loss at UCLA on Jan. 26. Junior center Jason Washburn leads the Utes in scoring with a 10.5 average. Leading scorer Josh Watkins (15.6 ppg) was recently dismissed from the team for violating team rules. USC leads the all-time series with Utah, 15-14, and won the last meeting 65-60 on Dec. 2, 2000.
STAMPEDED BY THE BUFFALOES -- Andre Roberson had 13 points and 10 rebounds as Colorado beat USC 74-50 at the Galen Center on Jan. 26 to extend the Trojans' losing streak to nine games. Colorado outscored USC 29-8 over the last four minutes of the first half and first nine of the second half to put the game away. USC shot 32.2 percent from the floor and made just 5 of 25 three-point shots. USC was outrebounded 51-24, the most rebounds by a Trojan opponent since Stanford also had 51 on March 7, 2002. Dewayne Dedmon left the game after four minutes with a sprained left knee. James Blasczyk, nursing an injured foot, was forced to play 26 minutes and responded with a career high in points (8) and rebounds (7). Maurice Jones led USC with 13 points and Byron Wesley added 12.
TRIP TO PULLMAN ON DECK -- USC will travel to Washington next week to take on Washington and Washington State. USC's first game will be at Washington State (11-9, 3-5) on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. WSU is coming off an 85-61 loss at Arizona on Jan. 26 and will play at ASU on Jan. 28 before hosting the Trojans. WSU is led in scoring by junior forward Brock Motum (15.5 ppg) and senior guard Faisal Aden (14.5 ppg). USC is 67-44 all-time vs. the Cougars, but is 1-7 in its last eight trips to the Palouse.
DEDMON SUFFERS MCL TEAR -- USC sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon was diagnosed with a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee and a tibial bone bruise of his left leg and is likely out for the remainder of the season, it was announced on Jan. 27 by USC head coach Kevin O'Neill. Dedmon hurt his knee four minutes into the game on Jan. 26 when a Colorado player took a charge and fell back into Dedmon, hyper-extending his leg. Dedmon will begin a non-surgical treatment of rest and rehabilitation and will be evaluated week to week. Dedmon averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20 games this season. As Dedmon has gotten to practice and play on a consistent basis, he has improved upon those numbers to 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in the first seven Pac-12 games before suffering the injury.
AND THEN THERE WERE SIX -- On the same day that USC's Aaron Fuller had surgery (Jan. 26), Dewayne Dedmon suffered an injury likely ending his season meaning USC now has five scholarship players who have suffered season-ending injuries: Dedmon (knee), Jio Fontan (knee), Fuller (labrum), Evan Smith (labrum) and Curtis Washington (labrum). USC has six scholarship players available on the active roster as two more players (Ari Stewart and Eric Wise) are transfers and unavailable until next season.
SUMMER MEMORIES... -- After the departure of four starters from last season, USC began its summer exhibition tour on Aug. 14 with a starting lineup of guards Jio Fontan, Maurice Jones and Evan Smith and forwards Aaron Fuller and Dewayne Dedmon. Only Maurice Jones remains playing from that starting lineup.
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 SEEKING FIRST CONFERENCE WIN -- USC is off to an 0-8 start in Pac-12 play. They last time it started 0-7 in conference was the 1989 season when it began 0-12.
FULLER HAS SURGERY -- USC forward Aaron Fuller, who was second on the team in scoring (10.6) and first in rebounding (5.9) when he was shut down for the season with a labrum tear in his left shoulder. He underwent successful surgery on his shoulder at USC Hospital on Jan. 26 performed by Dr. James Tibone. Fuller originally suffered a bilateral labrum tear in his left shoulder, his shooting shoulder, in a preseason scrimmage against Air Force. He mainly shot right-handed this season, but then suffered a slight tear in his right shoulder on the trip to the Bay Area. He scored in double-figures the first 6 games, but only 3 times in his final 12 games (all starts).
OSU KNOCKS USC OFF ROUTE 66 -- USC held its first 19 opponents to 66 points or less before Oregon State scored 78 against the Trojan defense on Jan. 21. It was the first time USC had started a season holding the opposition to 66 points or less for the first 19 games since the 1948 season when it held all 24 opponents to under 66 points. USC has held its opponents to 58.8 points per game, 16th in the country.
THE GOOD HANDS PEOPLE - 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, T-27th best in the country. USC had 18 turnovers in the loss at Oregon State on Jan. 21, but has had 9 or less turnovers in five of the last six games. USC has had 12 or less turnovers in 13 games.
SLUMPING SHOOTERS -- USC snapped a streak of six consecutive games shooting under 40 percent from the field when it shot 41.0 percent at Oregon on Jan. 19. The Trojans followed that up by hitting 50 percent of its shots at Oregon State on Jan. 21, but dropped back down to 32.3 percent vs. Colorado on Jan. 26. Even with the two games over 40 percent, USC has made just 36.6 percent of its shots (177-for-484 in the last nine games. Also in the last seven games, USC is shooting 19.8 percent (18-for-91) from three-point range.
TERRELL'S BEEN A TERROR -- USC's top recruit JC guard J.T. Terrell has averaged 27.3 points through 18 games for No. 2 Peninsula JC (Wash.). He's hitting 52 percent from the field, 41 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the foul line. In Peninsula's win on Dec. 3 vs. No. 7 Highline, Terrell scored 38 points, hit a three-pointer for the lead and then added two free throws to seal the victory. Terrell has scored 30 or more points in 9 of Peninsula's 18 games.