USC Plays At California Sunday Night
Feb. 15, 2013
USC (12-13, 7-5) will play at California (15-9, 7-5) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. at 7 p.m. USC has won four in a row, five out of seven and is 5-3 under interim head coach Bob Cantu. The last time USC won four consecutive games was when it also won four straight Feb. 17-26, 2011 (at Cal, at Stanford, vs. Arizona, vs. ASU). The last time USC won more than four consecutive games was when it won eight straight games from Dec. 8-31, 2009.
BREAKING DOWN THE GOLDEN BEARS -- California is coming off a 76-63 home win vs. UCLA on Feb. 14 and has won four of its last five games. Junior Allen Crabbe (19.6) leads the conference in scoring and junior Justin Cobbs (14.5) ranks 11th. California defeated USC 72-64 on Jan. 5 at the Galen Center and leads the all-time series, 131-121 (1 USC win in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty).
USC HOLDS OFF CARDINAL TO WIN FOURTH STRAIGHT -- Jio Fontan scored 15 points and USC survived a late rally by Stanford to win 65-64 on Feb. 14 in Palo Alto. Dewayne Dedmon added 13 points and eight rebounds and J.T. Terrell had 12 points for the Trojans, who have won four in a row. USC had lost nine of its previous 10 games at Maples Pavilion. USC also swept the season series, having beaten Stanford 71-69 on Jan. 3 in Los Angeles. Josh Huestis led the Cardinal with a career-high 22 points. Chasson Randle scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers, but missed a 3 attempt at the buzzer for Stanford.
REMATCH WITH UCLA ON DECK -- USC will host UCLA (18-7, 8-4) on Feb. 24 at 12:30 p.m. at the Galen Center. USC defeated UCLA 75-71 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30, but trails the all-time series 105-132 (1 USC win in 2008 later vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC has won five of the last nine games against UCLA. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad leads UCLA in scoring with an 18.2 average. The Bruins will play at Stanford on Feb. 16 before facing USC.
OFFENSE CLICKING IN CONFERENCE -- USC has averaged 70.0 points in Pac-12 games this season, second-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 tied for second in Pac-12 games in field goal percentage at 44.2 percent. USC has scored 70 or more points in six of the last nine 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.
TERRELL ON A TEAR -- USC guard J.T. Terrell scored 12 points at Stanford on Feb. 14, 18 points vs. Washington on Feb. 10 and has scored in double figures in nine of USC's last 10 games for an average of 13.3 points per game (133 total), since not playing vs. California on Jan. 5. In the seven games prior to that, Terrell averaged 3.3 points per game and scored in double figures in just six of USC's first 15 games. Terrell leads all Pac-12 players in conference games with an average of 2.4 three-pointers made per game. Her currently ranks 19th in conference games with a 12.3 scoring average.
STEWART SIDELINED -- USC junior guard/forward Ari Stewart suffered a fractured left thumb in the game vs. Washington on Feb. 10 at the Galen Center and is expected to miss at least three weeks of action, it was announced on Feb. 11 by interim head coach Bob Cantu. Stewart has averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 16 games this season for the Trojans, including an average of 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in Pac-12 games. Stewart has worked his way into the rotation since Cantu took over as interim head coach on Jan. 14, scoring 31 points in the last seven games, after scoring a total of 26 points in USC's first 17 games. Stewart posted a season-high 11 points in the win vs. Washington State on Jan. 7, but had no points and four rebounds before suffering the injury in the win over Washington on Feb. 10.
No 1 IN SCHEDULE STRENGTH... -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country, currently ranked No. 1 in the Basketball Power Index Rankings (BPI), No. 8 by Sagarin and No. 24 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 much of the season were 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 12 wins, the opponents have made 28.5 percent of their three-point shots (59-for-207). USC's win vs. WSU (10 3-pointers made) was its first this season when surrendering 10 or more baskets from three-point range (1-3).
TEAM TROJAN -- USC has had nearly its entire roster help win a game at one point or another, with seven different players at least tying for USC's leading scorer in a game, six leading or tying for the lead in rebounds and eight different players leading or tying for the assist lead. Eight different Trojans have scored in a double figures in a game this season. In the last nine games, five different players have led in scoring and four have led in rebounding. USC already has had six players score 150 or more points this season, while last year's team only had five reach that total in 32 games.
FULLER EN FUEGO FROM THE FIELD -- Forward Aaron Fuller was 3-for-5 with five rebounds in 17 minutes at Stanford on Feb. 14. In the last four games played, Fuller has made 14 of 17 shots for a 82.4 shooting percentage, while grabbing 18 rebounds.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE THROWS -- USC went 14-for-15 from the free throw line for a 93.3 shooting percentage on Feb. 10 vs. Washington. That was the best free throw percentage for the Trojans win a game where they took 10 or more since going 22-for-22 to set the school and Pac-12 Tournament record vs. Oregon on March 8, 2002. USC shot 81.8 percent from the line in the win vs. Washington State on Feb. 7 and has shot at a 81.9 clip (59-for-72) in the four-game winning streak.
CANTU'S CARDIAC KIDS AT IT AGAIN -- Six of the first eight 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, 12 of USC's last 15 games have been decided by eight points or less. USC swept the season series against Stanford by a combined three points in the two games.
TROJANS TURNING IT AROUND ON THE ROAD - USC is 3-2 in its last five road games following a 14-game road losing streak which dated back to Nov. 30, 2011.
BABY STEPS - USC is still one game under .500, but the team has doubled last season's win total (6-26) and after having won just one conference game during the 2011-12 season, has won more conference games (7) that its entire victory total a season ago.