USC Hosts UCLA On Sunday At Galen
Feb. 21, 2013
USC (12-14, 7-6) will host UCLA (19-7, 9-4) at the Galen Center at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. USC has won 4 of its last 5 games and is 5-4 under interim head coach Bob Cantu.
BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS -- UCLA is coming off an 88-80 victory at Stanford on Feb. 16 and enters the week tied for second in the Pac-12. 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 and is seeking its second series sweep in the last four seasons. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad leads UCLA in scoring with an 18.5 average.
CAL GETS HOT LATE TO END USC'S WINNING STREAK -- Allen Crabbe had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Justin Cobbs added 22 points and California came back from 15 points down early in the second half to beat USC 76-68 on Feb. 17 in Berkeley, Calif. Crabbe scored 10 points over the final 4 1/2 minutes and helped Cal close the game on a 25-7 run. In little more than three minutes from the 5:17 mark until 2:08 left in the game, Cal went 4-for-4 from three-point range to go from nine down to four ahead at 68-64, and held on. The Golden Bears had missed their first 10 three-pointers of the second half. J.T. Terrell scored 17 points to lead the Trojans. Byron Wesley added 16 points, while making a career-best four three-pointers and Jio Fontan added 16 points and five assists. USC made just two baskets over the final 6 minutes and saw its four-game winning streak snapped.
No. 12 ARIZONA ON DECK -- USC will host No. 12 Arizona (21-4, 9-4) at the Galen Center on Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Arizona is tied for second in the Pac-12 and has won five of its last six conference road games. Arizona seniors Mark Lyons (15.3), Solomon Hill (13.7) and Kevin Parrom (8.0) and sophomore Nick Johnson (11.8) are leading the Wildcats in scoring. USC lost 74-50 at Arizona on Jan. 26. USC has lost its last four games against Arizona and trails in the all-time series, 40-61 (with 1 USC win in 2008 later vacated due to NCAA penalty).
OFFENSE CLICKING IN CONFERENCE -- USC has averaged 69.8 points in Pac-12 games this season, third-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 third in Pac-12 games in field goal percentage at 44.2 percent. USC has scored 68 or more points in 8 of the last 10 games, after scoring 68 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 17 points at California on Feb. 17 and 18 points vs. Washington on Feb. 10 and has scored in double figures in 10 of USC's last 11 games for an average of 13.6 points per game (150 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 17th in conference games with a 12.7 scoring average.
RIGHTING THE SHIP IN THE PAC-12 -- USC went 5-8 in the nonconference schedule this season, but has gone 7-6 in Pac-12 play. That is USC's best 13-game conference record since being 8-5 during the 2010 season.
TOUGH 3-GAME HOMESTAND -- The game vs. UCLA begins the final regular season homestand for USC and perhaps the toughest. USC has won its last three home games, but will be facing UCLA (19-7), Arizona (22-4) and ASU (20-7), the teams which as of Feb. 20 rank third, second and fourth respectively in the Pac-12 race. USC is currently tied for 6th in the Pac-12.
GUARDING THE LINE -- USC has allowed the opposition to make 34.8 percent of its three-point attempts this season, but has made adjustments and is holding opponents to 31.2 percent from beyond the arc in the last 18 games (96-for-308). In the first eight games USC's opponents made 42.1 percent of its three-point shots.
NOT SO FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 25 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 22 points. USC's opponents have made 160 three-pointers to the Trojans' 140 and have made 52 more free throws. In 13 of the last 18 games USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponents. USC has also had as many or more baskets in 7 of the 14 losses this season.
SWAT TEAM PROTECTING THE RIM -- USC has registered 130 blocks this season, more than 27 complete Trojan seasons since the stat was charted in 1979. USC is on a pace to get 155 blocks in the regular season, which would be the third-highest total in school history. The USC team record is 191 blocks in the 1987 season.
IT'S WISE TO DIVERSIFY -- USC redshirt senior Eric Wise has been a stat-sheet stuffer this season for USC, ranking among the Trojans' leaders in most categories while averaging 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Among USC players, he ranks first in field goals made (121) and points (312), second in steals (25) and rebounds (151), tied for second in free throws made (50) and assists (50) and tied for third in blocks (9). Wise has scored in double figures in 19 of the 26 games. He notched his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds at UCLA on Jan. 30
EXPERIENCED YOUTH - USC sophomore Byron Wesley has started every game since he came to USC (58) and has played more games as a Trojan than any player on the team. He is second in minutes played this season and last, and led all Pac-12 freshmen in minutes last season. Wesley has scored in double figures in nine of the last 12 games for an average of 12.3 points (148 total)
RPI OR R.I.P...? -- USC is one of seven teams (USC, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Cincinnnati and Vanderbilt) to have played 16 or more games against top 100 RPI teams as of Feb. 17. USC has also played two of those teams.
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. 4 by Sagarin and No. 26 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 14 losses this season, the opposition has made 101 of 253 three-pointers for a 39.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In 10 of the 14 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), Arizona (7) and California (6). 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).
SLOW STARTS, STRONG FINISHES -- USC has been outscored 849-802 in the first half, while winning the second halves and overtime by a combined score of 920-895. USC has also been outrebounded by 44 in the first half of games, while owning a 55-rebound edge in the second half. The same can be said about the turnover category where USC has 185 in the first half of games and 165 in the second half. The biggest descrepancy is on the defensive side, where USC has allowed opposition teams to shoot 43.6 percent in the first half (316-for-725), including a 38.6 percentage from three-point range (86-for-223), while holding them to a 40.0 FG percentage (292-for-730) and a 31.2 three-point FG percentage (74-for-237) in the second half and overtime of games. In the three games, however, the trend has reversed with USC winning the first halves by a composite 107-80 score and losing the second half 97-120. Also, opponents have made 40.0 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three-point range the last three first halves, only to pick it up to a 49.5 percentage and a 33.3 percentage in the second half.
ASSISTS KEEP POURING OUT OF THE FONTAN -- USC redshirt senior point guard Jio Fontan has averaged 5.1 assists per game this season, second among Pac-12 players. He matched a career high with 11 assists vs. WSU on Feb. 7 and added 10 points for his second career double-double, first with USC and first since Jan. 11, 2009 vs. Xavier (10 points/11 assists). Fontan's previous high this season had been nine done twice, vs. Marquette on Nov. 21 and at home vs. San Diego State on Nov. 25. Fontan has had at least four assists in 20 of the 26 games this season. After scoring no points and missing the second half of the game on Jan. 10 at Colorado with an intercostal muscle strain, Fontan bounced back with 13 points, 6 assists and one turnover at Utah on Jan. 12. He set his Trojan high and matched a career high with 25 points at ASU on Jan. 24. His 5th three-pointer came with 0.4 seconds left and sent the game into overtime. The 5 3-pointers also matched a career high. After beginning the season making 25.0 percent of his three-point attempts in the first nine games, Fontan has made a solid 35.6 percent since then (20-for-56)
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 five games played, Fuller has made 14 of 17 shots for a 82.4 shooting percentage, while grabbing 19 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 82.7 clip (67-for-81) in the last five games.
CANTU'S CARDIAC KIDS AT IT AGAIN -- Six of the first nine 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, 13 of USC's last 16 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.
FOUL PLAY -- In the 13 conference games, USC has been called for 53 more fouls (251-198) than its opponent which has led to 27 more points (162-189). USC has been called for less fouls than its opponent in 4 of the 13 conference games and is 3-1 in those contests with the lone loss being by two points to the conference leader Oregon. In the two close losses to California, USC has been outshot from the charity stripe 50-26 and outscored 39-16.
USC SEEKING MORE CHARITY -- USC has taken 90 less free throws than its opponent and has made 52 less points from the charity stripe. USC has made 69.0 percent of its free throws (316 of 458), while its opponents have made 67.2 percent (368 of 548). Last season, USC was outshot by 78 and outscored by 106 at the free throw line.
TROJANS TURNING IT AROUND ON THE ROAD - USC is 3-3 in its last six road games following a 14-game road losing streak which dated back to Nov. 30, 2011.
BABY STEPS - USC is still two games 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.