USC To Take On Utah Thursday At The Galen Center
Feb. 11, 2014
The USC Trojans (10-13, 1-9) will host the Utah Runnin' Utes (16-7, 5-6) at the Galen Center on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. USC has lost nine of its last 10 games after opening the season 9-4.
BREAKING DOWN THE UTES - Utah is coming off a home sweep of the Washington schools, first defeating Washington 78-69 and then WSU 81-63. Utah is 16-1 at home and 0-6 on the road. USC lost 84-66 at Utah on Jan. 16. The Trojans trailed by three points at halftime, but Utah used a 13-4 run to start the second half to take control of the game. USC leads the all-time series with Utah 17-16, but has lost the last two meetings. Guard Delon Wright (16.0 ppg) and forward Jordan Loveridge (15.8 ppg) lead Utah in scoring.
SLOW START TO SECOND HALF DOOMS USC AGAINST UCLA -- USC held a 41-35 halftime advantage, but UCLA scored the first 10 points of the second half and never looked back in a 83-73 win at the Galen Center on Feb. 8. The Bruins made nine of their first 13 shots after halftime, including going 5 of 6 from three-point range in that stretch to put the game away. USC closed the game to seven points twice in the final minutes, but could get no closer as UCLA made its free throws, including 20 of 23 in the second half. Byron Wesley led USC with 27 points, while Norman Powell led four Bruins in double figures with 21 points.
WESLEY NOT SLOWING DOWN -- After surpassing the 1,000 career points plateau on Feb. 1 at Oregon, Byron Wesley poured in 27 more points against UCLA on Feb. 8 to give him 1,032 in his career to move into 33rd place on USC's all-time points scored list. Brandon Martin is 32nd on USC's all-time scoring list with 1,070 career points and Roy Irvin is 31st with 1,073.
COLORADO ON DECK - USC's next game will be against the Colorado Buffaloes (18-6, 7-4) on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. Colorado will play at UCLA on Feb. 13 before facing the Trojans. USC lost 83-62 at Colorado on Jan. 18 and trails in the all-time series, 3-5. Colorado has won its last three games against USC. The Buffaloes are led in scoring by guard Askia Booker (14.2 ppg) and forward Josh Scott (14.1 ppg). Colorado lost its leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie to a knee injury on Jan. 18 at Washington.
A FEW KEYS TO VICTORY -- USC is 8-1 when Nikola Jovanovic scores in double figures and is 8-3 when having more or as many assists as turnovers. USC is also 7-0 when holding the opposition to under 70 points and 8-0 when holding them to under 40.0 percent shooting.
HOW KEY IS THE THREE? -- USC is 7-4 this season when making five or more three-pointers in a game and 8-2 when hitting 33.0 percent or more in a game. USC is 3-9 when its opponents make 33 percent or more of its three-point baskets. In the last nine games USC has shot 27.7 percent from three-point range (36-for-130). In Pac-12 play, USC has made 41 three-pointers, fewest in the conference.
THE FRUSTRATING FOUR -- USC is 0-4 in its last four games, but has led at one point in the second half in each game, with two of the losses coming in overtime. USC led at the half in three of the games, but suffered its first three losses of the season after having the advantage at the break. USC has made two more baskets than the opposition in the four games and has a 44.5 to 40.8 advantage in shooting percentage in the contests. USC has been charged with 15 more fouls which led to 28 more free throw attempts in the four games. USC has committed 25 more turnovers in this stretch.
SECOND-HALF SHAKES -- In the last four games, USC has been outscored 179-139 in the second half and overtime periods. USC committed nine more turnovers than its opponents after the break. The opposition also has 28 more free throw attempts after the break. USC had a 49.1-39.8 advantage in first-half shooting percentage, but was outshot 41.8 to 40.2 in the second half.
SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC had three dunks vs. UCLA on Feb. 8 and now has out-slammed the opposition 64-31 this season. USC has eight games with at least four dunks, while the opposition has only two (5 - Villanova on Nov. 28 and 4- ASU on Jan. 9).
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS -- USC outrebounded UCLA 38-37 on Feb. 8 and has either outrebounded or had as many rebounds as the opposition in 16 of 23 games this season and owns a 879-847 advantage on the boards. USC's 22-rebound advantage vs. Howard on Dec. 29 was a season best. USC was defeated 43-23 on the boards by Colorado on Jan. 18. It was the biggest rebound deficit in a game for USC this season (-20) and the fewest rebounds in a game this season by USC.
USC IS GETTING OFFENSIVE -- Through the first 23 games this season USC has scored 1651 points, 133 more than through the first 23 games of the 2012-13 season, for an average of 5.8 more points per game. USC has scored 73 or more points 12 times this season, after reaching that scoring plateau a total of six times last season. USC is averaging 71.8 points per game, its most since also averaging 71.8 points in the 2007 season.
OFFENSE BACK ON TRACK? -- USC has made 45.9 percent of its shots (130-for-283) and has averaged 72.4 points in the last five games. In the previous four games, USC produced a total of 241 points or 60.2 per game, including three of USC's lowest scoring games of the season. The 60 points vs. ASU on Jan. 9 vs. ASU were a season low before being held to 53 against Arizona on Jan. 12. USC then scored 66 points at Utah on Jan. 16 and 62 at Colorado on Jan. 18. USC shot 40.9 percent (90-for-220) from the field and 25.0 percent (13-for-52) from three-point range in those games.
FRESHMEN DOING FINE -- USC's scholarship freshmen group of guards Julian Jacobs and Kahlil Dukes and forwards Nikola Jovanovic and Roschon Prince have combined to score 460 points for a 20.0 points per game average. Jacobs is second on the team with 92 assists and is fourth with 92 rebounds. Jovanovic is averaging 8.3 points, Jacobs 6.7, Prince 4.7 and Dukes 2.3. Jovanovic is also third on the team with 106 rebounds. USC has had 39 combined starts by the freshmen this season, after having none last season. Entering play this week, among Pac-12 freshmen Jovanovic ranks eighth in scoring and fourth in rebounding, while leading all conference freshmen with a 51.8 shooting percentage. Jacobs is 11th in scoring, sixth in rebounding, leads in steals and assists and is fourth in blocks and second in assists among Pac-12 freshmen.