USC To Play Final Road Game At Stanford On Saturday|
Feb. 27, 2009
PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (16-11, 7-8) will face the Stanford Cardinal (15-11, 4-11) at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. USC has lost five of six games after winning five of six games. USC has lost its last four road games.
BREAKING DOWN THE CARDINAL -- Stanford is coming off a 76-71 home loss to UCLA on Thursday and are currently in ninth place in the Pac-10. The Cardinal have three players averaging double figures in scoring: Anthony Goods (15.8), Lawrence Hill (13.3) and Landry Fields (12.7). Stanford is 2-8 in its last 10 games, but owns an 11-4 record at home this season. USC defeated Stanford 70-69 on Jan. 29 when Hill's shot rimmed out at the buzzer. USC leads the all-time series with the Cardinal 118-116, but has lost the last six played at Stanford.
TROJANS SUFFER ANOTHER HEARTBREAKER AT CAL -- USC rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to force overtime, but fell 81-78 at California on Feb. 26. Leading the Trojans' comeback were Daniel Hackett who tied a career high with 26 points and Taj Gibson who had 21 points and 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. The difference in the game was at the free throw line where Cal hit 24 of 27 (88.9 percent) and USC hit 16 of 28 (57.1 percent).
OREGON ON DECK -- The Trojans will next play vs. Oregon (7-20, 1-14) on March 5 in a 7:30 p.m. game at the Galen Center. Oregon will host Oregon State on March 1 before traveling to Los Angeles to play the Trojans. The Ducks are coming off their first conference win of the season, a 68-60 victory vs. Stanford. Oregon is led in scoring by junior guard Tajuan Porter who is averaging 15.0 points per game. USC defeated Oregon 83-62 in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 2. The Trojans lead in the all-time series with the Ducks, 61-42.
TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF -- USC committed just eight turnovers at California on Feb. 26. It was the eighth time in the last 15 games in single-digits in turnovers, after registering 10 or more turnovers in each of the first 12 games. In the first 12 games USC averaged 16.8 turnovers and has averaged 12.4 in the last 15 games (186 turnovers). The loss at Cal dropped USC to 8-1 this season when winning the turnover battle.
FACING THE BEST -- Through games of Feb. 26, USC's opponents have a combined 459-291 record (.621), five of USC's opponents are a combined 45-93 (.326), while the other 22 are 414-198 (.676). Twenty-two of USC's 27 games have been against teams that are .500 or better and 21 of those game were against teams that have won 15 or more. Twelve of USC's first 27 games have been against teams ranked in the top 42 in the RPI rankings. USC's schedule is ranked the 12th toughest by Sagarin.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS -- USC has played 11 games decided by 5 points or less (5-6). The Trojans have been within 5 points at some point with under 4 minutes to play in all but one of its 11 losses this season. In 6 of the Trojans' 11 losses, they were within 3 points with under a minute to play.
DESPITE MISSING PIECES, FLOYD PUTS PUZZLE TOGETHER - USC is 7-8 in conference play despite having the whole team available for three games. Already without forwards Kasey Cunningham for most of the season and Alex Stepheson for the entire season, the Trojans were forced to play the first four conference games without forward Leonard Washington (high left ankle sprain), and then lost leading scorer guard Dwight Lewis (left ankle sprain) for the two games in Washington. Sixth-man Marcus Johnson missed the last six games with a strained right rotator cuff and forward Nikola Vucevic missed two games with a strained lower back, before returning on Feb. 19.
MAGICAL MARKS -- USC has an 8-1 record when it has less turnovers than the opposition and is 9-0 when holding the opponent to under 60 points. The Trojans are 11-2 when holding opponents under 40-percent from the field. USC is 7-3 when taking 10 or less 3-point shots. USC is 0-7 in games played before 10,000 or more fans.
SLOW STARTS -- USC has trailed at the half in 11 of its last 13 games. USC has averaged 28.2 points in the first half of those 13 games and 34.5 points in the second half
JOHNSON MAKING IMPACT -- USC guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, has stepped in an had an immediate impact. In his first 10 games, Johnson has averaged 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. USC is 7-3 in the games he plays and is 1-5 since he has been out with a strained right rotator cuff. He scored a season-high 9 points, including a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks vs. Stanford on Jan. 29, then had 3 rebounds and scored 6 points, with another impressive dunk vs. Cal on Jan. 31. He scored 7 points, including the basket to give USC the lead, in the win at WSU on Jan. 24. He scored 8 points at Washington on Jan. 22 and made his first start on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA, scoring 4 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Johnson played in part of one exhibition game for UConn last season before transferring and thus had to sit out the first semester.
VUCEVIC A WSU SPECIALIST? -- The freshman forward made his first start on Jan. 24 at WSU and notched then career highs in points with 8 and rebounds with 5. He did not start again until Feb. 19 vs. WSU and had 8 points again and a new career high with 7 rebounds. In the two games against the Cougars he has 16 points in 56 minutes and in his other 13 games, has 24 points in 120 minutes. He came off the bench at UCLA on Feb. 4 and matched a career-high with 8 points and had 6 rebounds and 4 steals. He missed the two games in Arizona with a lower back strain.
TAJ HAS BEEN A TOWER OF POWER -- Taj Gibson was diagnosed on Jan. 26 with an pneumonia, practiced Jan. 28 and scored 20 points in 38 minutes on Jan. 29 vs. Stanford, then dropped in 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds vs. California on Jan. 31. He has averaged 14.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in USC's first 27 games, including 12 double-doubles giving him 28 in his career. Gibson is attempting to become the first Trojan to average a double-double since Jaha Wilson in 1994-95 (14.2 pts/10.1 reb.). The 25 points on Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine was a career high and the 18 rebounds on Nov. 20 vs. SHU and Dec. 20 vs. NDSU tied a career high. Gibson has scored in double figures in 24 of 27 games and has 8 rebounds or more in 18 of 27 games. Gibson has been named to the Midseason Top 30 for the Wooden Award. Gibson also has been rising up the USC career scoring charts and currently has 1,188 points, 20th all time in scoring by a Trojan. Maurice Williams (1979-82) on USC's all-time scoring list with 1,204 points.
BLOCK AROUND THE CLOCK -- Taj Gibson was held without a block for the first time this season on Feb. 19 vs. Washington State. In fact, it snapped a streak of 46 consecutive games with at least one block (dating back to the 2007-08 season). That was the longest active streak by any men's college player (courtesy of STATS, LLC). Gibson bounced back with four blocks vs. Washington on Feb. 21 and two at California on Feb. 26 and has a conference-leading 73 this season.
DEMAR IS D'MAN -- Freshman DeMar DeRozan has scored 46 points & had 24 rebounds in USC's last three road games and has averaged 13.8 points (249) and 6.2 rebounds (111) in his last 18 games. He reached double figures in scoring 13-straight games before being held to 5 on Jan. 24 at WSU. He scored a career-high 22 points in the win vs. ASU on Jan. 15. On Jan. 2 at Oregon, he had his first career double-double (14 pts/12 reb) and added his second at ASU on Feb. 15 (16 pts/10 reb). DeRozan currently ranks 10th all-time in scoring by a USC freshman with 337 points, 5th in scoring average (12.5), T-7th in FT attempts (100), 9th in rebounds (150), 9th in FG% (.504) and 8th in rebound average (5.6).
HE CAN SURE HACKETT -- Junior point guard Daniel Hackett is tied for 3rd in the Pac-10 with 4.7 assists per game and is 5th in total assists with 127. He currently has 324 in his career, 6th all-time by a Trojan. Gus Williams (1973-75) is 5th on USC's all-time assist list with 362. Hackett recorded a career-high 13 assists in the game at Oklahoma on Dec. 4. His assist total was the most by a Trojan since Brandon Granville set the school record with 15 vs. Memphis on Nov. 23, 1999. Hackett's 13 assists are tied for the fourth most in a single game by a USC player, along with Larry Friend (13 on Dec. 6, 1985 vs. ASU) and Casey Jones (13 on Dec. 18, 1976 vs. Baylor). He also has 38 steals this season and needs two steals to reach 100 in his career. Hackett scored 26 points at Cal on Feb. 26 to tie his career high in points.
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Dwight Lewis miss two games (Jan. 22 and 24) with a sprained left ankle, but bounced quickly with 20 points at UCLA on Feb. 4 and 21 at Arizona on Feb. 12. At Arizona, Lewis hit a career-high 6 three-pointers, including his first 5 attempts in the 2nd half. He then led USC in scoring with 17 vs. WSU on Feb. 19. He has made a team-leading 44 three-pointers this season and 95 in his career to tie Nick Young for 16th place on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list. Rodney Chatman is 15th with 105 career 3-point baskets. Lewis scored a career-high 26 points in the 74-69 win vs. USF on Dec. 1 and followed that up with 25 points at Oklahoma on Dec. 4, at the time his two best career scoring outputs. He matched his career high with 26 points at Oregon on Jan. 2, including making 4 three-pointers. Lewis scored in double figures in a career-high 9 straight games to start this season and in 21 of 25 games overall.
ENJOYING THE HOME COOKING -- USC is 13-2 at home this season. The loss to UCLA on Jan. 11 snapped an 8-game home winning streak this season and a 12-game home winning streak at the Galen Center dating back to 2007-08, a Galen Center record. The last time USC had a better record in its first 15 games at home was during the 1991-92 season (14-1).
BREAKING DOWN THE LOSSES -- Although USC has lost 11 games this season, they have fallen to some quality teams and 8 of the 11 games were decided by 9 points or less. USC has lost to Seton Hall (15-12), No. 11 Missouri (24-4), Oregon St. (13-13), No. 3 Oklahoma (25-3), No. 22 UCLA twice (21-7), No. 21 Washington twice (21-7), No. 29 Arizona (18-10), No. 14 Arizona State (21-6) and California (21-7). Through games of Feb. 26, the combined record of the teams USC lost to is 221-83 (.727).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 50 teams to 60 points or less in Tim Floyd's first 127 games as USC's head coach, including 11 this season. The Trojans held 20 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 65 teams under 40 percent shooting in the first 127 games under Floyd, 13 times this season. USC was outshot from the field in just five of 33 games last season and only 6 times this season (Mizz, OSU, ASU, Uof A-2 & UW). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 80 of the last 97 games.
WINNING THE BOARD GAMES -- USC outrebounded the opposition in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by Oral Roberts on Dec. 29, but has had a rebounding edge in 21 of 27 games this season. USC has enjoyed a 5.2 rebound edge per game, good for 29th in the country. USC was outrebounded 40-30 by Washington on Feb. 21, its largest rebound deficit in a game this the season.