USC Opens The Second Half Of Pac-12 Play Thursday By Hosting WSU
Feb. 5, 2013
USC (9-13, 4-5) will host Washington State (11-11, 2-7) at the Galen Center on Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. USC is 5-5 in its last 10 games and 2-3 under interim head coach Bob Cantu. This game begins the second half of Pac-12 Conference play for USC.
BREAKING DOWN THE COUGARS -- Washington State is coming off a pair of home losses to the Arizona schools, first falling 63-59 vs. Arizona State on Jan. 31, followed by a 79-65 setback to Arizona on Feb. 2. The Cougars are led by senior Brock Motum who averages 18.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. USC leads the all-time series with WSU, 67-46.
USC GRABS OT WIN AT UCLA -- Jio Fontan and Aaron Fuller scored 15 points each and USC defeated UCLA 75-71 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30 to improve its record to 5-4 vs. the Bruins in the last nine games and 5-5 in the last 10 at UCLA's home. USC led most of the way, but squandered a 15-point second-half lead and needed overtime to pull out the victory. Ari Stewart hit two clutch free throws with 11 seconds left and Fontan put the game away with one of two from the foul line with 3.9 seconds left in OT. Eric Wise added 12 points and 11 rebounds, J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley each had 10 points for USC, which held the Bruins to 38 percent shooting. Shabazz Muhammad led UCLA with 22 points.
WASHINGTON ON DECK -- USC's next opponent will be Washington (13-9, 5-4) at the Galen Center on Feb. 10 at 7:00 p.m. Washington split last week's games, first falling 57-53 vs. Arizona on Jan. 31 and then defeating ASU 96-92 on Feb. 2. Junior C.J. Wilcox leads the Huskies in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game.
CANTU'S CARDIAC KIDS AT IT AGAIN -- Four of the first five games in which Bob Cantu has been the USC head coach have been decided by five points or less, with two of them going into overtime. Going back farther, 10 of USC's last 12 games have been decided by eight points or less.
NOT SO FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 31 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 30 points. USC's opponents have made 134 three-pointers to the Trojans' 116 and have made 74 more free throws. In 11 of the last 14 games USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponents, yet is 6-8 in that stretch. USC has also had as many or more baskets in six of the 13 losses this season.
OFFENSE CLICKING IN CONFERENCE -- USC has averaged 70.2 points in the first nine conference games this season, fourth-best among Pac-12 schools. Despite scoring just 50 points and shooting 28.1 percent in the loss at Arizona on Jan. 26, USC still ranks third in Pac-12 games in field goal percentage at 44.4 percent. USC has scored 70 or more points in four of the last six games, after scoring 70 points or more just three times in the first 16 games. Also, USC scored 69 or more points in four consecutive games (Jan. 12-24) for the first time since the 2008 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.
FOUL PLAY -- In the nine conference games, USC has been called for 48 more fouls (186-138) than its opponent which has led to 49 more points (104-153).
HEATING UP -- Despite Eric Wise scoring just five points to snap an 11-game double-figure scoring streak and J.T. Terrell tallying three points at Arizona on Jan. 26, the Trojan pair has been heating up on the offensive end. In the last 10 games Wise has averaged 14.5 points (145 total) and 6.4 rebounds (64 total), while Terrell has averaged 13.0 points (91 total) in the last seven games since not playing on Jan. 5 vs. Cal.
IT'S WISE TO DIVERSIFY -- USC redshirt senior Eric Wise has been a stat-sheet stuffer this season for USC, ranking among the Trojans' leaders in most categories while averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Among USC players, he ranks first in field goals made (106) and points (274), second in rebounds (121) and free throws made (43), tied for second in steals (19), third in blocks (9) and assists (39). Wise has been USC's leading scorer in 10 of the 22 games and been the second-leading scorer four times. He also has scored in double figures in 18 of the 22 games. He notched his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds at UCLA on Jan. 30
?EXPERIENCED YOUTH - USC sophomore Byron Wesley has started every game since he came to USC (54) and has played more games as a Trojan than any player on the team. He is second in minutes played this season and last, and led all Pac-12 freshmen in minutes last season.
RPI OR R.I.P...? -- USC is one of seven teams (Kansas, Louisville, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Texas and USC) to have played nine games against the top 50 RPI teams as of Feb. 3.
No 1 IN SCHEDULE STRENGTH... -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country, currently ranked No. 1 by Sagarin, No. 1 in the Basketball Power Index Rankings (BPI) and No. 15 by CBSSportsline. In a seven-game stretch which began vs. Illinois on Nov. 19 in Maui and ended Dec. 8 vs. Minnesota, USC played five teams that for most of the season have been ranked in the top 25 (Illinois, San Diego State, New Mexico, Marquette and Minnesota). Only two of the seven games in that stretch were at home.
THREES ARE THE KEYS -- In USC's 13 losses this season, the opposition has made 95 of 232 three-pointers for a 40.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In nine of the 13 losses, USC allowed the opposition to make at least six three-pointers, Illinois (13), San Diego State (7), Nebraska (11), New Mexico (11), Minnesota (6), UC Irvine (9), Oregon (7), ASU (9) and Arizona (7). In USC's nine wins, the opponents have made 26.2 percent of their three-point shots (39-for-149).
BOOST FROM THE BENCH - Coming off a season where the Trojans were playing most of the second half of their season with just six available scholarship players, the depth of the 2012-13 team really stands out. In the first 22 games of the season, USC has scored 26.0 percent of its points (376 of 1446) and has 33.9 percent of its rebounds (240 of 709) from players coming off the bench (minus deadball rebounds). USC's non-starters also played 30.6 percent of the game (1378 of the 4500 minutes). After 22 games, USC's bench has outscored the opposition 376-340, despite being outscored 33-10 by Marquette's reserves on Nov. 21 and 43-20 by Stanford's subs on Jan. 3.