USC Begins Bay Area Trip At Stanford On Thursday
Feb. 18, 2014
The USC Trojans (10-15, 1-11) will play the Stanford Cardinal (16-8, 7-5) in Palo Alto, Calif. on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. USC has lost a season high six consecutive games and is 1-11 in the last 12 games, after opening the season with a 9-4 record.
THE OPPOSITION - Stanford is coming off a 69-56 win at Washington State on Feb. 15 and is 3-1 in its last four games. Stanford defeated USC in 79-71 in overtime on Jan. 26 at the Galen Center. The Trojans lead the all-time series with the Cardinal 122-121, as USC had one win vacated in 2008 due to NCAA penalty. Stanford has four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by junior guard Chasson Randle's 18.5 average.
USC FALLS AT HOME TO COLORADO -- USC had one of its worst shooting nights of the season and fell at home to Colorado, 83-74. USC shot just 31.6 percent from the field in the second half and fell behind by as many as 18 points, before making a late run to cut the gap to eight points. The Trojans shot 37.1 percent for the game, while the Buffaloes hit an even 50 percent. Byron Wesley once again led USC in scoring with 21 points, while Xavier Johnson led Colorado with 20 points. Chass Bryan started at point guard for the Trojans as Pe'Shon Howard was unavailable due to a violation of team rules. Bryan scored eight points.
LORD BYRON -- Like a poet craftily painting a picture with his expressive words, junior Byron Wesley is creating his own scoring masterpiece of late, averaging 22.0 points in his last five games and doing it with dunks, three-pointers, and spinning and slashing moves in the key. After surpassing the 1,000 career points plateau on Feb. 1 at Oregon, Byron Wesley poured in 27 against UCLA on Feb. 8, 20 vs. Utah on Feb. 13 and 21 vs. Colorado on Feb. 16 to give him 1,073 points scored in his career, tied for 31st on USC's all-time scoring list with Roy Irvin. Paul Westphal is 30th on USC's all-time scoring list with 1,085 career points. Wesley is the only Pac-12 player this season leading his team in both scoring and rebounding averages.
CALIFORNIA ON DECK - USC's next game will be at California (17-8, 8-4) on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. California will host UCLA on Feb. 19 before facing the Trojans. The Golden Bears have four players averaging in double figures, led by guard Justin Cobbs at 16.0 points per game. USC defeated California 77-69 on Jan. 22 at the Galen Center, the Trojans' only conference win. USC trails in the all-time series 121-132, with the Trojans vacating one win from the 2008 season.
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.
SECOND-HALF SHAKES -- In the last six games, USC has been outscored 265-221 in the second half and overtime periods. USC has made 40.7 percent (74-for-83) of its shots after the break, including 25.0 percent from three-point range (15-for-60). The opposition also has 39 more free throw attempts after the break. Included in this stretch, Utah had a 15-0 run, UCLA 10-0 and 14-0 runs and Oregon a 12-0 run within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Stanford had a 9-0 run and then a 7-0 run to begin overtime.
LET ME ASSIST YOU -- USC has 334 assists this season and is on pace to finish the regular season with 414, the most in a season since registering 438 in 2009. Pe'Shon Howard leads the team with 103, followed closely by Julian Jacobs with 95. They are looking to be the first pair of Trojans with 100 or more assists in the same season since 2007 (Pruitt-113, Hackett-103).
THE THREE HAS BEEN KEY -- USC ranks tied for 324th in the country in three-pointers made per game (4.6). USC's opponents average 7.2 makes from beyond the arc each game. In the last three games, USC is 16-for-55 (29.1 percent) from three-point range while its opponents have made 28-for-56 (50.0 percent).
NO VACATION WHEN HIT THE ROAD -- USC is 1-7 on the road this season. The combined home record of the first eight teams USC has faced on the road this season is 96-20 (through games of Feb. 17).
TROJANS PAINTING A PRETTY PICTURE -- For the season USC has outscored the opposition 948-750 in points in the paint: at Utah St. (36-36), vs. CSUN (50-26), vs. NAU (42-22), vs. CSUF (36-30), vs. W. Alabama (32-20), vs. Villanova (49-30), vs. WF (33-34), vs. Xavier (36-46), vs. BC (38-22), vs. CSUB (30-24), at LBSU (36-42), at Dayton (52-32), vs. Howard (40-26), at UCLA (40-44), vs. ASU (36-30), vs. Arizona (40-26), at Utah (38-38), at Colorado (32-28), vs. Cal (44-26), vs. Stanford (34-20), at Oregon St. (36-38), at Oregon (34-26), vs. UCLA (36-20), vs. Utah (38-28) and vs. Colorado (30-34).
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 503 points for a 20.1 points per game average. Jacobs is second on the team with 95 assists and is fourth with 101 rebounds. Jovanovic is averaging 8.1 points, Jacobs 6.6, Prince 4.7 and Dukes 2.9. Jovanovic is also third on the team with 114 rebounds. USC has had 40 combined starts by the freshmen this season, after having none last season. Entering play this week, among Pac-12 freshmen Jovanovic ranks seventh in scoring and fourth in rebounding, while leading all conference freshmen with a 51.5 shooting percentage. Jacobs is 11th in scoring, sixth in rebounding, leads in steals, is second in assists and is fourth in blocks among Pac-12 freshmen.