USC To Host Oregon At Galen On Wednesday|
Feb. 10, 2015
The USC Trojans (9-14, 1-10) will host the Oregon Ducks (17-7, 7-4) at the Galen Center on Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. The game will air on ESPN2 and AM 690. USC has lost 10 of its last 11 games, including a season-high eight straight. Four of the eight losses in the streak have been by four points or less.
BREAKING DOWN OREGON -- Oregon is coming off a 95-72 win vs. Washington State on Feb. 8, its third consecutive win, to move them into a third place tie in the Pac-12. USC fell behind 16-2 and lost 75-67 at Oregon on Jan. 22. Oregon is led in scoring by Joseph Young who averages 19.7 points per game. USC leads the all-time series 60-51 (reflects 2 wins in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty), but has lost nine consecutive games to the Ducks. Oregon is 1-3 in road games this season.
STANFORD RALLIES AGAINST USC -- The Trojans road the hot shooting of Jordan McLaughlin and Katin Reinhardt to a 6-point halftime lead, but the USC offense was held down in the second half and the Cardinal put the game away at the free throw line in a 70-62 win on Feb. 8. USC led 39-33 at the break thanks in large part to 14 points apiece from Reinhardt and McLaughlin who both nailed four first-half 3-pointers. In the second half, USC was just 1-for-9 from beyond the arc and shot 31.3 percent overall. Stanford did not shoot much better (35.7 percent), but was able to get to the free throw line 14 more times than USC in the second half and made 17 more points than the Trojans from the free throw line in the game. Stanford also outmuscled USC in the second half, outrebounding them 29-14. Reinhardt finished with 19 points and McLaughlin 18, while Nikola Jovanovic was held to 6 points as he battled foul troubles all game. Five Cardinal players scored in double figures led by Chasson Randle's 17. Stanford guard Marcus Allen had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
OREGON STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. Oregon State (16-7, 7-4) on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. Oregon State is coming off a 64-50 win over Washington on Feb. 8 which pushed its home record to 14-0. The Beavers are 2-5 on the road this season. Oregon State defeated USC 59-55 on Jan. 24 in Corvallis, Ore., but the Trojans still lead the all-time series 66-62 (reflects 2 wins in 2008 later vacated due to NCAA penalty). Oregon State ranks among the top two Pac-12 teams in most defensive categories. Junior Gary Payton II leads Oregon State in scoring (12.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg).
JUST HOW YOUNG ARE THEY...? -- According to Statsheet.com, USC ranks as the fourth-youngest team in the country and first among the Power 5 conferences in terms of minutes played by class. Among the top 12 teams listed in terms of youngest rosters, only three have a winning record and one of those is No. 1 Kentucky. USC is one of three of those 12 youngest teams to have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 65. Conversely, 10 of the 13 oldest rosters have a record of .500 or better. USC is one of only 15 teams in the country without a senior and the Trojans have had only one scholarship junior (Strahinja Gavrilovic) play this season.
CLOSE SHAVES -- Five of USC's last six losses have been by fewer than 10 points and USC was within two points of the lead or in the lead with under five minutes to go. USC also made more field goals than its opponent in four of the six games, but has made 36 less free throws (and taken 31 less).
KATIN'S SCORING SURGE -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt has averaged 18.2 points per game (109 total) in the last six games. Reinhardt leads the Trojans with a 14.0 scoring average in conference games which ranks 13th among Pac-12 players.
DEFENDING THE THREE -- USC is second among all Pac-12 teams in 3-point field goal defense, holding the opposition to a 31.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
FRESHMEN LEAVING A MARK -- USC's freshmen are starting to place their names in the Trojans' all-time freshmen top 10 lists. Jordan McLaughlin's 99 assists rank 9th all-time by a USC freshman, his 28 3-point baskets is tied for 10th and his 33 steals are one theft away from cracking the top 10. Elijah Stewart's 23 blocks rank 9th on USC's all-time freshman blocks list.
LEAVING THEIR GUARDS DOWN -- USC freshman guard Elijah Stewart is sneaking up the blocked shots list. He was credited with three blocks at Stanford on Feb. 8, but harrassed many more shots. Stewart has nine blocks in the last five games and is tied for seventh in Pac-12 play with 13 blocks in 11 games. Stewart and Oregon State's Gary Payton II are the only two guards during Pac-12 play to rank in the top 15 for blocked shots.
NIKOLA 2.O -- USC sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic from Serbia has been compared to former Trojan and NBA star Nikola Vucevic from Montenegro. To this point in Jovanovic's college career, it is a fair comparison. As a freshman Jovanovic played much more than Vucevic did and had better numbers. As sophomore starters, Vucevic averaged 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds, while Jovanovic is averaging 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Jovanovic is one of five players to rank in the top 15 in scoring and rebounding among Pac-12 teams and the only one to rank in the top 10 in field goal percentage (.522).
REINHARDT TIES SCHOOL 3-POINT RECORD -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt tied the school 3-point baskets made record of 9 when he went 9-for-18 from long-range vs. Colorado on Jan. 29. Reinhardt tied the USC record held by Anthony Pendleton set vs. Long Beach St. on Dec. 9, 1987. KR is starting to find his stroke from 3-point range, going 24-for-52 (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc in the last 8 games. He began the season going 21-for-65 (32.3 percent) from three-point range. Reinhardt was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc vs. Utah on Feb. 1, snapping a streak of nine consecutive games with a three-pointer made. Reinhardt is 7th in Pac-12 games with 2.5 makes per game from 3-point range.
SOMETHING'S FOUL -- In the 70-62 loss at Stanford on Feb. 8, USC was called for 20 fouls compared to the Cardinal's 13. USC took 8 free throws compared to Stanford's 25 in the game and was beat by 17 points at the charity stripe. In the last six games, USC has committed 123 fouls compared to its opponents 111 and has taken 31 less free throws (116-147). USC has struggled from the free throw line all season and went 3-for-8 at Stanford on Feb. 8. USC posted posted its best effort from the line this season at Oregon State on Jan. 24 when it went 16-for-18 (.889). USC has shot over 70 percent from the line in 4 of the last 9 games, but only 5 times in 23 games. USC was 15-for-28 (.536) from the free throw line in the OT loss to Army on Dec. 13 and 23-for-35 (.657) in the 3 OT loss to Colorado on Jan. 29. USC was also at 50 percent (9-for-18) in the 70-69 loss at California on Feb. 5. USC is shooting 64.0 percent from the free throw line this season.
IN LINE FOR THE WIN -- USC is 8-8 when taking more free throws than it opponent and 1-6 when taking less free throws. USC is also 5-3 when making more free throws than the competition and 5-3 when hitting 68.0 percent or better from the charity stripe.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC has been outrebounded by 50 (232-282) in the last seven games. Prior to that, the Trojans has outrebounded the opposition by 30 rebounds (610-580) and won the battle of the boards in 12 of the first 16 games. Still, USC has won the rebound battle in 14 of 23 games this season and trails by only 20 rebounds (842-862). USC's season high for rebounds was 51 vs. Penn State on Nov. 23.
GAINING EXPERIENCE -- Eleven of the 13 players to appear in a game for USC this season are either freshmen or sophomores. USC's freshmen and sophomores have logged 92.1 percent of the team's minutes. Despite Malik Martin (3+ games) and Jordan McLaughlin (2+ games) missing time due to injury, USC's four freshmen had combined to play 39.3 percent of USC's minutes this season.
THE DEFENSE RESTS -- USC has struggled defensively since Pac-12 play began, allowing opponents to shoot 45.1 percent against them (7th in the Pac-12). However, the Trojans maybe turning the tide as they held their last six opponents to a combined 41.3 percent (144-for-349). Entering conference play, USC had held its opponents to 38.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 29.3 percent from three-point range. Still, USC has held 11 of 23 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 41.8 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.