USC Closes Regular Season At Washington Saturday
March 7, 2014
The USC Trojans (11-19, 2-15) will play at the Washington Huskies (16-14, 8-9) in Seattle, Wash on March 8 at 1:30 p.m. USC is coming off a victory at Washington State on March 6 which snapped a 10-game losing streak, its longest since losing the final 10 games of the 2012 season. A win today would secured the 11th seed for the Pac-12 Tournament. A loss by Washington State today would also give USC the 11th seed for the tourney. USC began the season with a 9-4 record in nonconference action. This is Andy Enfield's 100th career game as a head coach.
BREAKING DOWN THE HUSKIES - Washington is coming off a 91-82 loss to UCLA on March 6, just its second conference home loss (6-2). Senior guard C.J. Wilcox leads four Huskies scoring in double figures with an 18.3 average and leads all conference players with 85 three-pointers made. USC trails in the all-time series 67-69, as two wins in 2008 were vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
USC TURNS UP THE PRESSURE TO WIN AT WSU -- Byron Wesley matched a career high with 31 points, 20 in the second half, and the Trojans used a strong second half to win 79-68 at Washington State on March 6 to end a 10-game losing streak. USC trailed 36-35 at halftime, and 44-35 two minutes after the break, but then went on a 16-4 run fueled by a full-court trapping-press to take a five-point lead. Leading by four at 54-50 with 11:30 to go, USC then went on a 13-2 run with five different players scoring in the streak. Wesley was the difference maker in the second half going 5 of 6 from the floor and 9 of 13 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game for his fifth double-double. USC outscored WSU 40-22 in the paint and held the Cougars to 36.5 percent shooting, 29.0 percent in the second half. USC had not won in Pullman since 2009 and was 1-9 in the last 10 games at WSU.
THE DECEPTIVE 10 -- At first glance at the 10-game losing streak, including the final scores, would make you think USC was out most of the games early, but the reverse was actually the truth. USC led in the second half in six of the games and the other four games were within five points at some point in the second half. USC lost the games by an average score of 68.2-78.9 (-10.7 ppg). USC committed 48 more fouls and scored 43 less points from the free throw line in the 10 games. USC also committed 27 more turnovers and made 26 less three-pointers than its opponent in the streak.
ON DECK: PAC-12 TOURNAMENT - USC's next game will be on March 12 at the Pac-12 Tournament held at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. If USC is the 11th seed it will play at 8:30 p.m. against the 6th seed. If USC is the 12th seed, it will play at 2:36 p.m. against the 5th seed.
IMPACT FRESHMEN -- Freshmen Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic are quietly posting two of the better USC freshmen seasons in awhile. Jacobs' 112 assists are 4th in a single season by a Trojan freshman. He also is one steal outside the freshman top 10 in steals. Jovanovic is T-8th in free throw percentage (.750) and has the 10th-best field goal percentage (.508) by a Trojan freshman. Entering play this week, among Pac-12 freshmen Jovanovic ranked 8th in scoring and 5th in rebounding, while leading all conference freshmen in shooting percentage. Jacobs was 11th in scoring, 6th in rebounding, 2nd in steals, is 2nd in assists and is 4th in blocks.
WESLEY IS MOVING UP THE CHARTS -- Junior Byron Wesley was held to nine points on Feb. 27, but in the last nine games has averaged 20.0 points (180 total). He surpassed the 1,000 career points plateau on Feb. 1 at Oregon and now has 1,125 career points, 26th on USC's all-time scoring list, as he passed Gabe Pruitt, Ron Riley, Bill Sharman and Jaha Wilson last game when he tallied 31 points. Next up on the charts are Don Carfino in 25th (1,127), Jeff Trepagnier in 24th (1,128) and Errick Craven in 23rd (1,159). Wesley is one of two Pac-12 players this season leading his team in both scoring and rebounding averages. Wesley ranks seventh in scoring and is 14th in rebounding among Pac-12 players this season. He also ranks ninth among active conference players in career points scored.
SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC had four dunks at Washington State on March 6 and has out-slammed the opposition 73-45 this season. USC has nine games with at least four dunks, while the opposition has only three (5 - Villanova on Nov. 28, 4 - ASU on Jan. 9 and 4 - Oregon on March 1).
GETTING TO THE LINE -- USC has taken 725 free throws through 30 games this season, after taking a total of 547 last season. USC has struggled at the free throw line this season (66.6 percent) with seven games under 60.0 percent from the charity stripe. In the last six games, however, USC has made 72.3 percent of its free throws (99-for-137). In the last 13 games USC has been called for 59 more fouls (280-221) and the opposition has taken 62 more free throws (358-296).
TURNING AROUND THE SECOND HALF STRUGGLES -- USC outscored Washington State 44-32 in the second half on March 6 and made 54.2 percent of its shots, 44.4 percent from three-point range. In the previous 10 games, USC had been outscored after the break (including overtime) 438-364. In those 10 games USC made 41.3 percent (123-for-298) of its shots after the break, including 26.1 percent from three-point range (23-for-88). Included in that stretch, the opposition has had eight runs of at least 10-0 in the second half.
A FEW KEYS TO VICTORY -- USC is 8-2 when Nikola Jovanovic scores in double figures and is 9-4 when having more or as many assists as turnovers. USC is also 8-0 when holding the opposition to under 70 points and 9-0 when holding them to under 40.0 percent shooting.
THE THREE HAS BEEN KEY -- USC ranks tied for 324th in the country in three-pointers made per game (4.5). USC's opponents average 7.0 makes from beyond the arc each game. In the last eight games, USC is 37-for-131 (28.2 percent) from three-point range while its opponents have made 58-for-163 (35.6 percent), despite Stanford going 2-for-19 on Feb. 20.
"JUJU" CAN DO -- Freshman Julian "JuJu" Jacobs had 12 points, four assists and no turnovers in the win vs. California on Jan. 22. Jacobs had 5-points, 5-assists and career-high 9-rebounds at Oregon on Feb. 1. He scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds at Stanford on Feb. 20. Jacobs has had at least seven rebounds in a game eight times and at least five assists 10 times. In the last eight games he is shooting 47.1 percent from the field (16-for-34) with 39 rebounds, 23 assists and six steals.