USC Plays Illinois On Monday At EA SPORTS Maui Invitational
Nov. 18, 2012
USC (2-0) will play Illinois (3-0) on Monday, Nov. 19 at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawai'i in the first game of the Championship Round of the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. USC is two games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. The last time USC also won its first two games of a season was the 2010-11 season and the Trojans have only started 2-0 three times in the last 12 seasons. The last time USC won its first three games of the season was the 2000-01 season when it won its first eight games.
ZOWIE, IT'S MAUI! -- USC will be playing at the Maui Invitational for the second time in school history. USC went 1-2 at the 1999 Maui Invitational, defeating Memphis (92-65) and losing to North Carolina (82-65) and Utah State (52-50). Trojan point guard and current radio analyst Brandon Granville still holds the Maui Invitational record for assists with 15 vs. Memphis on Nov. 23, 1999. Also, USC wing Jeff Trepangier set the Maui Invitational record with 10 steals vs. Utah State on Nov. 24, 1999. Both are also USC school records.
USC TAKES ON ILLINOIS IN EA SPORTS MAUI INVITATIONAL -- Illinois is 3-0 with wins over Colgate (75-55), St. Francis (89-64) and Hawai'i (78-77 in OT). The Fighting Illini are led by new coach John Groce who guided the Ohio Bobcats to the 2012 Sweet 16. Senior guard Brandon Paul leads Illinois in scoring with a 19.7 average in the first three games. USC leads the all-time series with Illinois, 6-2, but has lost the last two contests with the last meeting being an Illinois 90-77 win on March 14, 1997 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
TROJANS WEAR DOWN LONG BEACH STATE -- USC used a 23-4 run in the second half after Long Beach State had forged a 35-all tie to cruise to a 62-44 win at the Galen Center on Nov. 13. Eric Wise had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds and J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart added 10 points each. Eight different players scored during USC's second-half run and the Trojans held the 49ers without a field goal from the 16:24 mark of the second half until there was 42 seconds left. USC held LBSU to 28.6 percent shooting for the game.
ON DECK: TEXAS OR CHAMINADE -- The winner of the USC-Illinois game will play the winner of the Texas-Chaminade game on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 5:30 p.m. (HT), while the the other two teams will play on Nov. 20 at noon (HT). Texas is 2-0 this season with home wins over Fresno State (55-53) and Coppin State (69-46). Sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan has led the Longhorns with an average of 22.5 points in the first two games, making 22 of 24 free throw attempts. Texas was 20-14 last season and advanced to the NCAA Second Round. Rick Barnes is in his 14th season as the Texas head coach. USC leads the all-time series with Texas, 6-5, winning the last game 73-56 on Dec. 5, 2010 at the Galen Center. Chaminade is 2-1 with wins over Saint Martin's (87-84) and Western Oregon (84-76) in Oregon, before returning home and losing to Western Washington (73-83). De'Andre Haskins leads the Silverswords in scoring with an 18.0 average. Eric Bovaird is in his second season as the head coach of Chaminade. USC has never faced the Silverswords.
EXPERIENCED ROSTER - USC's roster features 12 upperclassmen and a combined 326 career starts at the Division I level entering this season. If you combined all of their career scoring averages, USC as a team would score 87.8 points per game. Counting Fontan who missed last season but started in the 2010-11 season, USC returns four starters (Dedmon, Fuller and Wesley), as well as four other players in Terrell, Stewart, Wise and Woolridge which have made at least 16 career starts.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH - Coming off a season where the Trojans were playing most of the second half of their season with just six available scholarship players, the depth of the 2012-13 team really stands out. In the first two games of the season, USC scored 40.3 percent of its points (60 of 149) and had 41.8 percent of its rebounds (33 of 79) from players coming off the bench. USC's non-starters also played 36.0 percent of the game (144 of the 400 minutes). USC's bench has outscored the opposition's bench 60-42.
REBOUNDING ON THE BOARDS -- After being outrebounded in 26 of 32 games last season, including the final 18 contests of the 2011-12 season, USC has won the battle of the boards in each of the first two games this season. USC outrebounded Coppin State 44-27 in the first game and had a 35-32 advantage over Long Beach State in the second game. The chairman of the boards for the Trojans in the first two games is forward Dewayne Dedmon who had a career-best 12 rebounds vs. Coppin State and added 10 rebounds vs. Long Beach State for a total of 22 rebounds in 38 minutes played.
RENALDO'S RARE TREAT -- USC forward Renaldo Woolridge played at the 2011 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational as a member of the Tennessee Volunteers. He graduated from Tennessee with a degree in Sociology and one more year of eligibility. This summer he transfered to USC to begin graduate school in Social Work. It is believed that he is the first player not on Chaminade to play in consecutive Maui Invitationals.