USC Finishes Arizona Road Swing At ASU On Sunday|
Feb. 21, 2015
The USC Trojans (10-16, 2-12) will face the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-12, 6-7) at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. at 5:30 p..m. (PT). The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and AM 690. The Trojans are seeking their first conference road win of the season.
BREAKING DOWN ARIZONA STATE -- The Sun Devils are coming off a 68-66 home win over UCLA on Feb. 18. Junior guard Gerry Blakes (11.3 ppg) and senior forward Shaquielle McKissic (11.2 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.
TROJANS FALL AT No. 7 ARIZONA -- USC got off to a good start at Arizona, but things went south in a hurry and the No. 7 Wildcats cruised to a 87-57 win on Feb. 19. Arizona quickly turned a close game into a rout going on a 43-13 run to end the first half and start of the second to open up a 30-point lead. Tied at 18-all 8:30 into the game, Arizona caught fire at the same time the Trojans went stone cold, with the Wildcats making seven consecutive shots to extend its lead to 36-22. By halftime it was 49-31 Arizona and after a 12-0 start of the second half, the lead was up to 30. Arizona made 63.3 percent of its first-half shots and finished the game hitting 47.7 percent from the floor. USC was held to 31.6 percent shooting, 24.0 percent in the second half. Malik Martin came off the bench to score a season-best 15 points, while Kaleb Tarczewski led six Arizona players in double figures with 15 points. Arizona dominated on the boards, outrebounding USC 50-34 which led to a 30-18 advantage on points in the paint.
WASHINGTON STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be against Washington State (11-15, 5-8) at the Galen Center at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25. The Cougars will host Washington on Feb. 22 before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Trojans. WSU is led by senior guard DaVonte' Lacy who averages 17.0 points per game. Also, sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson averages 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. USC leads the all-time series with Washington State 69-47 and has won 20 of the last 27 games at home against the Cougars.
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, 8 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.
TEAM TROJAN -- USC currently has seven players averaging over 5.0 points per game and one at 4.9 per game. The last time USC had eight players average over 5.0 points for a season was the 2004-05 season. USC has had eight different players lead the team or tie for game-high scoring this season and has had six tie for or lead USC in rebounding and assists in a game.
BIG GAME HUNTER -- Freshman forward Malik Martin has totaled 40 points in the three games against the conference co-leaders Arizona and Utah. He scored 14 and 11 in the two games against Utah and a season-best 15 at Arizona. He has made 60 percent (15-for-25) of his shots in the three games.
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
KATIN'S SCORING SURGE -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt has averaged 15.1 points per game (136 total) in the last nine games. Reinhardt is tied for the team lead with a 12.9 scoring average in conference games which ranks in the top 20 among Pac-12 players.
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 harassed many more shots and then registered three more vs. Oregon State on Feb. 14. Stewart has 14 blocks in the last eight games and is fourth in Pac-12 play with 18 blocks in 14 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 15 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 (.520).
MEN OF STEAL -- USC has registered 169 steals this season through 26 games, after getting a total of 174 in 32 games last season. USC has seven players with double figures for steals. USC ranks fourth among Pac-12 teams with an average of 6.5 steals per game.
ROAD WORK NEEDED -- USC is 0-7 on the road in Pac-12 play this season and is 1-18 in the last 19 conference road games. USC is 2-7 on the road this season and has won its last three nonconference road games dating back to last season: at Dayton on Dec. 22, 2013 (79-76 in OT), at New Mexico on Nov. 30, 2014 (66-54) and at Boston College on Dec. 21, 2014 (75-71). The last time USC won three or more consecutive nonconference road games was in 2001 when it won four straight at Bradley (60-50) on Dec. 1, at Long Beach State (86-68) on Dec. 12, at San Diego (76-67 in OT) on Dec. 20 and at LMU (81-67) on Dec. 22. The Trojans won consecutive road games at New Mexico and at Boston College this season for the first time since Jan. 30, 2013 at UCLA (75-71 in OT) and Feb. 14, 2013 at Stanford (65-64).