USC To Host No. 5 Oregon Saturday On Social Media Night|
Feb. 10, 2017
The USC Trojans (21-4, 8-4) will host the Oregon Ducks (21-4, 10-2) at the Galen Center on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. USC began the season 14-0 which ranks tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in school history and was the best USC start since the 1971 season. USC’s 21-4 start is its best since the 1992 team also went 21-4. That team began 21-5 through 26 games. The last USC team to go 22-4 to start a season was the 1974 team. This is the 15th USC team to win 21 or more games in school history. USC has won five consecutive conference regular season Pac-12 games in one season for the first time since 2002. The last time USC won more consecutive conference games in a season was 1992 when it won nine straight. USC’s five-game winning streak is tied with California for the longest current winning streak in the Pac-12. To order tickets to USC men's basketball games Click Here
SOCIAL MEDIA NIGHT -- Tonight is Social Media Night at the Galen Center with the first 1,000 fans receiving a special Social Media Night T-shirt. Fans will be encouraged to tweet and post photos to Instagram using the #USCSelfie hashtag, and those posts will be displayed on the video board. Fans will be able to follow exclusive behind the scenes content on the USC Trojans snap chat and will also be displayed on the video board. USC players who are active on Twitter will have their Twitter handles displayed on the in-arena screens. Fans will be encouraged to participate in social media polls, games and contests for the chance to win prizes.
BREAKING DOWN OREGON -- Oregon, coming off an 82-79 loss at UCLA on Feb. 9, is led in scoring by Dillon Brooks (14.6 ppg), Tyler Dorsey (12.8 ppg) and Chris Boucher (12.2 ppg). USC lost 84-61 at Oregon on Dec. 30 to run its losing streak against the Ducks to 13 games. USC has lost six consecutive games to Oregon in Los Angeles since last winning 80-66 at the Galen Center in 2009. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon 60-55, which includes two wins vacated dute to NCAA penalty.
USC RUNS BY OREGON STATE -- Oregon State scored the first six points of the game, but after that it was all USC in a 92-66 win on Feb. 9 at the Galen Center. USC made seven of its first nine shots, including 6 of 8 three-pointers to take a 22-15 lead eight minutes into the game and never looked back. Shaqquan Aaron led USC with 21 points, including making a career-best 5 three-pointers (5 of 6). USC took a 44-27 lead into halftime and OSU got no closer than 11 points in the second half. Bennie Boatwright scored 16 points, Elijah Stewart 14 and Chimezie Metu 11. Nick Rakocevic added 7 points, 4 rebounds and a career-best 4 blocks in 15 minutes of action off the bench. USC shot 50.9 percent in the game and held OSU to 38.7 percent shooting. USC’s 92 points were its high in a Pac-12 game this season and its most since netting 94 vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23.
UCLA ON DECK -- USC’s next game will be at UCLA (22-3, 9-3) on Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. The Bruins host Oregon State on Feb. 12 before taking on the Trojans. UCLA has six players averaging double figures in points led by TJ Leaf (16.7), Bryce Alford (16.2) and Lonzo Ball (15.1). The Bruins are the top scoring team in the country at 92.5 points per game. USC defeated UCLA 84-76 at the Galen Center on Jan. 25 to run its winning streak over the Bruins to four games. UCLA lead the all-time series 138-108, which reflects one USC win vacated due to NCAA penalty. USC is 2-2 in its last four games at Pauley Pavilion.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 21 Division I schools (out of 351) which has four losses or less through games of Feb. 9 and its .840 winning percentage is tied for 13th best in the country. USC’s is also tied for 11th in the country in wins with 21.
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES -- USC is the only team in the country scheduled to play two games against No. 5 Oregon (21-4), No. 9 Arizona (22-3) and No. 10 UCLA (22-3) this season and beginning tonight, will play them consecutively. USC hosts Oregon tonight, then will play at UCLA on Feb. 18 and at Arizona on Feb. 23. All three of those teams rank in the top 13 in the country in terms of winning percentage.
MR. BUCKETS GOES TO WASHINGTON -- Sophomore forward Bennie “Bennie Buckets” Boatwright scored 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting in his return to action at Washington on Feb. 1 and added 13 at Washington State on Feb. 4. He then scored 16 points vs. Oregon State on Feb. 9 in his first game at the Galen Center since Nov. 27. He had missed USC’s previous 15 games since suffering a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament in his left knee three minutes into the game at San Diego on Nov. 30. The Trojan co-captain is averaging 13.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in eight games, seven starts. USC is 8-0 in the games he has played this season.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 13.2 points 3.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He is also making 45.8 percent of his shots, including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 128 assists and is fourth with a 2.3 assist to turnover ratio through games on Feb. 9. McLaughlin has 388 career assists which ranks sixth on USC’s all-time assists list. Jacque Hill with 389 career assists ranks fifth on USC’s all-time list and Julian Jacobs and Duane Cooper are tied for third with 398 career assists. McLaughlin went 3-for-8 from the free throw line in the 74-73 loss to California on Jan. 8 after entering the game having made 35 of previous 37 free throw attempts (94.6 percent). Still, he has made 86.2 percent (56 of 65) of his free throws in the last 16-plus games. McLaughlin scored his 1,000th career point with his last basket vs. Arizona on Jan. 19 to become the 37th Trojan to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He also has 122 career steals, 10th all-time in steals by a Trojan and three behind Maurice Jones who is ninth on the list with 125 career steals.
SULTANS OF SWAT -- USC set a school record for blocks in a game with 14 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11, but did not record a block at Colorado on Jan. 15, its first game without a block since Jan. 19, 2012 at Oregon (snapping a streak of 161 consecutive games with at least one block). USC bounced back with eight blocks against Arizona on Jan. 19 and seven vs. ASU on Jan. 22. For the season, USC is averaging 5.8 blocks per game which ranks 10th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 19 blocks : Metu (41), Stewart (31), Melton (31) and Rakocevic (19).
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and seven are averaging at least 7.7 points per game.
TROJAN MEN OF STEAL -- USC has 34 steals in the its last four games and has six games of 10 or more steals this season. USC’s 179 steals lead the Pac-12 and De’Anthony Melton’s 47 steals are tied for the conference lead and sixth nationally among all freshmen.
STEW CAN DO -- Junior guard Elijah Stewart made a career-high seven three-point baskets vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 to tie for fourth on USC’s single-game three-point baskets made list. He then matched that with seven makes from long range against ASU on Jan. 22 He had made at least one shot from beyond the arc in 20 consecutive games dating back to last season, before going 0-for-5 at Oregon State on Dec. 28. He now has at least one three-point basket in 29 of his last 32 games. His career total of 157 three-pointers made is eighth on USC’s all-time list, six behind Elias Ayuso who is seventh with 163. Stewart is second among the Trojans in scoring at a 13.7 points per game and leads USC with 60 three-point baskets, while ranking tied for second in blocks (31) and third in rebounds (119). He has also scored in double figures in 18 of 25 games this season, with a high of 30 points. Stewart’s 2.4 made three-pointers per game are fifth among all Pac-12 players. Stewart also has 31 blocks this season and 94 in his career which is 11th on USC’s all-time blocked shots list, one behind Chimezie Metu and one Nikola Vucevic who are tied for ninth on USC’s career blocks list with 95.
METU MOUNTAIN -- Sophomore Chimezie Metu scored a career-high 29 points by making 12 of 14 shots in the win at Washington State on Feb. 4. His previous career high had been 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting at Colorado on Jan. 15, including making the go-ahead basket with 29 seconds remaining. He scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds vs. Stanford on Jan. 5 for his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career. For the season he is averaging a team-leading 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds and also leads the team with 41 blocks and 54 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 22 steals. Metu has at least one dunk in 22 of USC’s 25 games. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 20 of the 25 games this season.
MAGIC MELTON -- Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton has been a consistent “stat sheet stuffer” for the Trojans leading the team in steals, ranking second in rebounds and assists, tied for second in blocks and third in free throws made, fourth in minutes and fifth in scoring. He scored a career-high 16 points, had eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. He matched his career high with 16 points at Washington on Feb. 1 and added seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a career-high six steals. He is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 47 steals, which ranks tied for 6th on USC’s all-time freshman steals list with Ryan Francis (47). He has at least two steals in 13 of 25 games. His 31 blocks rank eighth on USC’s all-time freshman list. Melton is averaging 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 89 assists. He also ranks sixth in the conference with a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio.
MATHEWS A STRONG CONTRIBUTOR AS STARTER OR OFF BENCH -- Freshman guard Jonah Mathews made his first career start vs. ASU on Jan. 22 and netted 14 points and had three steals. He scored 18 points off the bench at WSU on Feb. 4 and has provided USC with valuable minutes off the bench all season, but none more impressive than in the overtime win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. With several Trojans in foul trouble, Mathews played a season-high 39 minutes and scored a career-best 26 points and registered a USC 2016-17 best six steals. Mathews made 5 of 8 three-pointers, including a cluch trey to tie the game at 90-all in overtime. He followed that up with 10 points at Oregon State on Dec. 28 and a team-high 11 points at Oregon on Dec. 30. He is averaging 10.2 points (132 total) in the last 13 games and is second on the team this season with 34 three-point baskets made. He also is third on the team with 29 steals.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC’s roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 64.2 percent of the minutes played this season (3228 of 5025 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 327th in the country in terms of game experience.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held the opposition to 71.5 points per game and to a .417 shooting percentage. USC has held 13 of its opponents to under 40 percent shooting. Utah (55.2 percent) and ASU (50.9 percent) are the only teams to shoot over 50 percent against USC this season. USC has also only had four games in which it has had more fouls than its opponent (23-22 vs. SMU, 22-17 vs. Wyoming, 20-16 at Oregon & 12-10 vs. ASU).
TURNOVERS CAN BE A GOOD THING -- USC has committed 11.1 turnovers per game which ranks 25th in the country. USC has committed 278 turnovers compared to its opponent’s 325 and enjoys a 414-272 advantage on points off of turnovers. USC has committed more turnovers than its opponent seven times this season. USC forced Colorado into 17 turnovers on Jan. 15 which led to a 20-5 advantage on points off turnovers. USC had a season-high 17 turnovers which lead to 23 points in its 84-61 loss at Oregon on Dec. 30 and followed it up with a new high of 18 turnovers in the win vs. Stanford on Jan. 5. Prior to those two games, USC ranked 11th In the country with 10.5 turnovers per game.
FOUL SHOTS AT THE LINE -- USC is making 72.9 percent of its free throws this season, despite being only 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) in the 74-73 loss vs. California on Jan. 8 and 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) in the loss at Utah on Jan. 12. USC as a team has not finished a season shooting over 70 percent from the charity stripe since hitting 71.5 percent of its free throws in the 2007 season. In the last 30 seasons, USC has shot over 70 percent from the free throw line only twice.