USC Heads To The Desert To Face No. 7 Arizona Thursday|
Feb. 17, 2015
The USC Trojans (10-15, 2-11) will face the Arizona Wildcats (22-3, 10-2) at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. (PT). The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and ESPNLA 710. USC won its last game to snap a nine-game losing streak and is attempting to win consecutive conference games for the first time since defeating Arizona and ASU at home on Feb. 27 & March 2, 2013. Five of losses in the nine-game losing streak were by five points or less.
BREAKING DOWN No. 7 ARIZONA -- No. 7 Arizona is coming off a 86-59 win at Washington State on Feb. 15. The Wildcats are 13-0 at home this season and have won 34 consecutive games at the McKale Center. Arizona averages 75.9 points per game and is led by dynamic freshman Stanley Johnson who averages 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. USC trails in the all-time series against Arizona 40-61 (record reflects both teams vacating a win due to NCAA penalty) and is 8-9 in the last 17 matchups. USC has lost its last five games at McKale Center, the last one a 74-50 setback on Jan. 26, 2013.
VALENTINE'S DAY WISH ANSWERED, USC DEFEATS OSU -- Elijah Stewart scored 19 points, Katin Reinhardt added 16 and USC snapped its nine-game losing streak with a 68-55 win over Oregon State on Feb. 14, the Trojans fifth consecutive Valentine's Day victory. Stewart made a career-high five 3-pointers and shot 6 of 12 from the field. He also had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks. The Trojans outscored OSU 42-27 in the second half to overcome a 28-26 halftime deficit. Julian Jacobs added 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and threw down a vicious two-handed dunk off a fastbreak just before the halftime buzzer to electrify the crowd and swing the momentum USC's way. USC opened the second half on a 15-3 run as Stewart hit a pair of 3-pointers and Reinhardt added another to lead the surge, which gave the Trojans a 41-31 lead with 14:07 to go. USC never let OSU get within two possessions the rest of the game. USC held OSU to 32.8 percent shooting, 24.2 percent in the second half.
SUN DEVILS ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at Arizona State (13-12, 5-7) in Tempe, Ariz. on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. PT. ASU will host UCLA on Feb. 18 before taking on USC. Junior guard Gerry Blakes (11.4 ppg) and senior forward Shaquielle McKissic (11.1 ppg) lead ASU in scoring. USC leads the all-time series 50-37 (reflects 2 wins vacated by USC in 2008 due to NCAA penalty). USC is 4-6 in the last 10 games at Wells Fargo Arena, with seven of the games decided by five points or less or in overtime.
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 11 teams listed in terms of youngest rosters, only two have a winning record and one of those is No. 1 Kentucky. USC is one of two of those 11 youngest teams to have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 70. Conversely, 7 of the 11 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 -- Six of USC's last seven losses have been by fewer than 10 points and USC was within one possession 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 seven games, but made 34 less free throws (and taken 26 less).
KATIN'S SCORING SURGE -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt has averaged 16.8 points per game (134 total) in the last eight games. Reinhardt leads the Trojans with a 13.8 scoring average in conference games which ranks 13th among Pac-12 players.
J-MAC ON THE RACK -- Starting point guard Jordan McLaughlin suffered a left shoulder injury in the game on Feb. 11 vs. Oregon. He is receiving treatment daily and is listed as day-to-day.
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 100 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 26 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 and then registered three more vs. Oregon State on Feb. 14. Stewart has 12 blocks in the last seven games and is fifth in Pac-12 play with 16 blocks in 13 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. Stewart also has at least one steal in 12 of last 14 games (17 steals).
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 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Jovanovic is one of nine players to rank in the top 20 in scoring and rebounding among Pac-12 teams but the only one in that group to rank in the top 10 in field goal percentage (.523).
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 28-for-62 (45.2 percent) from beyond the arc in the last 10 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 9th in Pac-12 games with 2.0 makes per game from 3-point range.
SEEKING SECOND CHANCE -- USC outscores the opposition by nearly a points in the second half and outshoots them 44.3 percent to 40.5 percent. In the first half of games, USC is outscored by 3.2 points per game and is outshot, 39.7 percent to 44.0 percent. USC also forces 29 more turnovers than assists allowed after the break. USC has trailed at the half 15 times: