USC Plays At California On Sunday|
Feb. 21, 2014
The USC Trojans (10-16, 1-12) will play the California Golden Bears (17-9, 8-5) in Berkeley, Calif. on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. USC has lost a season high seven consecutive games and is 1-12 in the last 13 games, after opening the season with a 9-4 record.
BREAKING DOWN THE BEARS - California is coming off an 86-66 home loss to UCLA on Feb. 19. The Golden Bears have four players averaging in double figures, led by guard Justin Cobbs at 15.7 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.
USC FALLS AT STANFORD -- USC shot 36.2 percent from the field, committed a season-high 29 fouls and turned the ball over 18 times which resulted in an 80-59 loss at Stanford on Feb. 20. Stanford won the battle of the boards 45-40, including grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. Pe'Shon Howard led USC with 13 points and Chasson Randle had a game-high 18 points. Stanford's Josh Huestis added 11 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. USC was playing the game without leading scorer Byron Wesley who did not make the trip due to a violation of team rules.
OREGON STATE ON DECK - USC's next game will be vs. Oregon State (14-11, 6-7) at the Galen Center on Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon State 66-60, with two wins in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty. USC fell 75-76 in overtime at Oregon State on Jan. 30. Roberto Nelson leads the Beavers and the conference in scoring with a 21.0 average.
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 seven games, USC has been outscored 313-257 in the second half and overtime periods. USC has made 40.0 percent (86-for-215) of its shots after the break, including 24.3 percent from three-point range (17-for-70). The opposition also has 46 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 in the first game and an 8-0 and a 13-0 run in the second half of the game on Feb. 20.
LET ME ASSIST YOU -- USC has 342 assists this season and is on pace to finish the regular season with 408, the most in a season since registering 438 in 2009. Pe'Shon Howard leads the team with 104, followed closely by Julian Jacobs with 98. 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 323rd in the country in three-pointers made per game (4.6). USC's opponents average 7.0 makes from beyond the arc each game. In the last four games, USC is 20-for-72 (27.8 percent) from three-point range while its opponents have made 30-for-75 (40.0 percent), despite Stanford going 2-for-19 on Feb. 20.
IMPACT FRESHMEN -- Freshmen Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic are quietly posting two of the better USC freshmen seasons in awhile. Jacobs' 98 assists rank eighth in a single season by a Trojan freshman and he projects to finish with the third-most ever. He also is four steals outside the freshman top 10 in steals. Jovanovic has the eighth-best free throw percentage season (.759) and is tied for the eight-best field goal percentage (.523) by a Trojan freshman. Both players have an outside chance to finish in the top 10 in rebounds. Entering play this week, among Pac-12 freshmen Jovanovic ranks seventh in scoring and fourth in rebounding, while leading all conference freshmen in 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.
SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC went without a dunk for the first time all season at Stanford on Feb. 20, but has out-slammed the opposition 67-36 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 was outrebounded 45-40 at Stanford on Feb. 20, but has either outrebounded or had as many rebounds as the opposition in 17 of 26 games this season and owns a 991-960 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.
OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT -- Through the first 26 games this season USC has scored 1855 points, 133 more than through the first 26 games of the 2012-13 season, for an average of 5.1 more points per game. USC has scored 73 or more points 13 times this season, after reaching that scoring plateau a total of six times last season. USC is averaging 71.3 points per game, its most since also averaging 71.8 points in the 2007 season.