USC Hosts CS Northridge In Home Opener Tuesday
Nov. 11, 2013
TONIGHT'S GAME -- The USC Trojans (0-1) will host the CS Northridge Matadors (1-0) in the home opener on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Galen Center. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson and Jarron Collins calling the action. USC is beginning its longest homestand of the season, playing four games at the Galen Center in the next 10 days.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN -- There are a total of 17 players on the 2013-14 USC men's basketball roster. The Trojan team by class are: Seniors (5): D.J. Haley (C), Pe'Shon Howard (G), Daniel Munoz (G), Omar Oraby (C) and J.T. Terrell (G); Juniors (1): Byron Wesley (G); Sophomores (5): Chass Bryan (G), Darion Clark (F), Strahinja Gavrilovic (F), Katin Reinhardt (G) and Brendyn Taylor (G); Freshmen (6): Samer Dhillon (F), Kahlil Dukes (G), Julian Jacobs (G), Nikola Jovanovic (F), Devon Pflueger (F) and Roschon Prince (F).
TROJANS FALL IN OPENER AT UTAH STATE -- USC would have been hard-pressed to find a tougher opening game, playing at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum where Utah State had gone 155-15 the past decade, and unfortunately the result went to form and the Trojans fell 78-65 on Nov. 8 in Andy Enfield's first game as USC's head coach. The teams traded baskets for the first eight minutes of the game and then Utah State took a 40-33 lead into halftime. USU opened the second half hitting 6 of 8 shots, including four 3-pointers to open the game up to an 18-point lead and the Trojans could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way. USC was outshot 36.9-48.3 percent from the field and despite USU missing its last five 3-point attempts, 16.7-38.1 percent from 3-point range which ultimately was the difference. The teams were pretty even on all statistical comparisons except from 3-point range where USU made four more for a 12 point difference in a 13-point setback. J.T. Terrell led all scorers with 20 points and Preston Medlin led the Aggies with 17 points. Since the 1981 season, USC has opened away from home eight times and fell to 1-7 in those games.
USC OPENS THE HOME SLATE AGAINST CS NORTHRIDGE -- Former NBA star Reggie Theus has taken over at CSUN and returns four starters from a team that went 14-17 a year ago. The Matadors return six lettermen and have added eight new players. USC leads the all-time series with CSUN, 5-1. CSUN opened the season with an 86-74 home win vs. Hope International on Nov. 8. Junior forward Stephen Maxwell led CSUN with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
USC IN HOME OPENERS -- USC defeated Coppin State 87-73 in last season's home opener and has won five consecutive home openers and 15 of the last 18. USC is 3-1 in home openers vs. CS Northridge, winning 66-59 to open the 2012 season, with the loss coming in overtime to begin the 2006 season, 81-76.
NEXT UP, NORTHERN ARIZONA -- USC will host Northern Arizona on Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. NAU, from the Big Sky Conference, went 11-21 last season and returns two starters and five lettermen from that team. The Lumberjacks under the direction of second-year head coach Jack Murphy feature a young roster that includes 10 newcomers. USC leads the all-time series with NAU, 2-0. The last meeting was a 60-52 USC win on Dec. 11, 2010. NAU is 1-1 this season, winning at UTSA (74-63) and losing at Texas Tech (88-68).
THE FIRST ONE IS ALWAYS THE TOUGHEST -- USC's new men's head basketball coaches have not enjoyed their debuts of late with Andy Enfield's 78-65 opening loss continuing the trend. USC's last eight debuting head coaches have posted a combined record of 1-7. The only USC men's basketball head coach to win his debut since 1987 is Kevin O'Neill in the 2009-10 season. The last two times USC lost its season opener (2007 and 2008) it went on to record 20-win seasons.
FACING THE BEST -- The USC men's basketball team is once again taking on an ambitious schedule for the 2013-14 season, highlighted by home games against Boston College and Howard, tough road trips to Dayton, Long Beach State and Utah State as well as playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas. In all, USC is scheduled to play a potential 11 games against teams that played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and another seven potential games against teams that played in the NIT Tournament.
TROJANS AT THE BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS -- USC will be playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas from Nov. 28-30. USC's first-round opponent in the tournament will be Villanova of the Big East Conference. Villanova went 20-14 last season and returns four starters and 11 lettermen from that squad. The second-round game on Nov. 29 will be against either Kansas or Wake Forest, with the final game on Nov. 30 being played against an opponent from this group: Iowa, Tennessee, UTEP and Xavier.
TROJANS ON THE RADIO -- USC's radio flagship station once again will be ESPN Radio 710 with Chris Fisher and Brandon Granville calling all the action. Fisher is in his fourth season as the USC play-by-play announcer. Granville, a former Trojan point guard and USC's all-time leader in assists and steals, is in his second season as an analyst.
PAC-12 PREDICTIONS -- USC was picked to finish 11th in the 2013-14 Pac-12 preseason vote by league media with 63 points. Arizona was picked first (273), UCLA second (212), Colorado third (211), Oregon fourth (196), California fifth (194), Stanford sixth (166), Arizona State seventh (159), Washington eighth (121), Utah ninth (68), Oregon State 10th (67) and Washington State 12th (39). Last season USC was picked to finish ninth and tied for sixth with a 9-9 conference mark.
ROSTER TIDBITS -- Ten of the 17 players on USC's 2013-14 roster have never played for USC before. Two of them, Darion Clark and Katin Reinhardt will have to wait one more year as they are sitting out this season due to transfer rules. Five of the seven players with experience playing for USC, have played just one season in the Cardinal & Gold. Six of USC's 17 players began their careers at another Division I school. Eleven of the 17 players are underclassmen. USC has three foreign-born players in Omar Oraby (Egypt), Stahinja Gavrilovic (Serbia) and Nikola Jovanovic (Serbia), and one player, Samer Dhillon, born in the USC whose parents are both from India.
USC's ROSTER BLENDS YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE -- USC has added experienced players which received waivers to be able to compete right away in guard Pe'Shon Howard (45 career starts) and center D.J. Haley (48 career starts). Those additions team with guards J.T. Terrell (43 career starts), Byron Wesley (64 career starts) and center Omar Oraby (9 career starts). The remaining 10 players on the active roster have two combined starts (Strahinja Gavrilovic-1, Daniel Munoz-1). USC has also added sophomore transfers Katin Reinhardt (34 career starts) and forward Darion Clark (18 career starts) who will have to sit out the 2013-14 season.
FIRST THREE GAMES TO AIR ON 690 AM -- The majority of USC's basketball games will be broadcast on flagship station ESPN Radio 710, but periodically throughout the season there will be scheduling conflicts and the broadcasts will be farmed out to sister stations. USC's first three games of the season (Nov. 8 at Utah State, Nov. 12 vs. CS Northridge and Nov. 15 vs. Northern Arizona) will air on 690 AM.
ALL 31 GAMES TO BE TELEVISED -- With USC's game at Long Beach State on Dec. 19 recently being selected by Prime Ticket for broadcast, all 31 of USC's regular season games can be watched on television.
WESLEY THE ONE CONSTANT -- Since USC wing Byron Wesley arrived on campus as a freshman for the 2011-12 season, he has been the one constant on the team. He is the only remaining player from that recruiting class at USC and the only remaining scholarship player from that team. As a freshman he quietly ranked among the top Pac-12 freshmen in six different category averages: scoring (9.6), rebounds (5.1), defensive rebounds (4.2), assists (1.8), steals (0.8) and minutes (34.6). Last season as a sophomore, he ranked third on the team in scoring (10.2) and rebounding (4.3), second in minutes (31.9) and assists (61 total). He improved on his shooting and expanded his repertoire to include the three-point shot, making 17 in conference play and finishing one make away from qualifying to lead the conference in three-point shooting percentage at .486 (17-for-35). Wesley opened the 2013-14 season with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists at Utah State on Nov. 8.
TERRELL PRIMED FOR BIG SENIOR SEASON -- Senior guard J.T. Terrell had a major impact on the Trojan program in his first season at USC, averaging 11.7 points and making 67 three-point baskets. His three-point baskets made rank 11th all-time in a single season by a Trojan. In the second half of the season following the coaching change he was even better, leading the Trojans with an average of 14.3 points per game and making 40 percent from three-point range (40-for-100). Terrell led all players in Pac-12 play by making an average of 2.5 three-pointers per game. Terrell began his career at Wake Forest, then spent a season playing at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Wash., before enrolling at USC last summer. Terrell opened the 2013-14 season by scoring 20 points at Utah State on Nov. 8.
THE BIG "O" -- Senior center Omar Oraby enters this season as lone remaining bigman that played significant minutes a year ago. On November 8, 2012 he was granted a waiver to compete for USC following his transfer from Rice in September of 2012. Oraby played in all 32 games for USC, making four starts and averaging 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds while playing 14.6 minutes per game. His best game of the season was the final game of the 2012-13 season when he started and scored a career-high 18 points in a career-high 35 minutes. Oraby was seventh in conference in blocks with 47, which ranks ninth on USC's all-time single season list. He had one stretch where he registered at least one block in 14 consecutive games. He had USC's best points to minutes played ratio last season and if his stats were prorated over a 40 minute game, he would has averaged 17.3 points per game.