USC Leaves For The Bahamas, Faces Villanova In First Game
Nov. 25, 2013
The USC Trojans (4-1) will face the Villanova Wildcats (4-0) in a first-round game of the third annual Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament to be held the Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas at 10 a.m. PT on Nov. 28. The game will be televised on AXS TV with Kenny Rice, Seth Davis and Tom Walsh calling the action. The winner of the USC-Villanova game will face the winner of the Kansas-Wake Forest game on Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. PT with the game being televised on the NBC Sports Network, while the other two teams will square off on Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. PT with the game being televised on AXS TV.
FAST START -- USC just concluded a 4-0 homestand, winning its first four home games to start a season for the first time since the 2009 season. It was also the first four-game home winning streak since Nov. 24-Dec. 23, 2010. USC's 4-1 start is its best since opening the 2008 season with a 6-1 record and only the third 4-1 start in the past 12 seasons.
FACING VILLANOVA -- Villanova is 4-0 after an 84-80 home win vs. Delaware on Nov. 22. The Wildcats also have wins over Lafayette (75-59), Mount Saint Mary's (90-59) and Towson (78-44). Junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston has averaged 20.3 points and senior guard James Bell has averaged 18.0 points this season. Villanova head coach Jay Wright has 383 career wins. USC won the only other meeting between these schools, 82-65 on Dec. 8, 1967.
USC DEFEATS WEST ALABAMA -- Byron Wesley scored 15 points, Nikola Jovanovic added 14 and USC defeated West Alabama 73-57 for the Trojans' fourth consecutive win at home on Nov. 21. Ten different players scored for the Trojans and six players had at least five rebounds. Omar Oraby added 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. The Trojans shot 45 percent from the floor, went 11 of 15 from the free throw line and controlled the boards, 48-34. They owned a 32-20 edge in the paint in the campus game played as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that will take the Trojans to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend. USC led by as many as 24 points in the second half (59-35), but West Alabama went on a 19-3 run to cut the score to 62-54 before the Trojans pulled away for good.
KANSAS OR WAKE FOREST ON DECK -- No. 2 Kansas is 4-0 with wins over Louisiana Monroe (80-63), Duke (94-83), Iona (86-66) and Towson (88-58). Kansas is averaging 87.0 points per game and has been led in scoring by sophomore forward Perry Ellis (16.8) and freshman Andrew Wiggins (16.8). USC trails in the all-time series with Kansas, 5-11, having lost the last seven matchups, most recently a 63-47 loss on Dec. 22, 2011. Wake Forest is 5-0 with wins over Colgate (89-78), VMI (98-71), Presbyterian (69-48), Jacksonville (90-83) and The Citadel (82-54). Sophomore Codi Miller-McIntyre leads the Deamon Deacons in scoring with an 18.6 average. USC and Wake Forest have met only one other time with the Trojans falling 95-83 on Dec. 29, 1954.
FRESHMEN DOING FINE -- USC's scholarship freshmen group of guards Julian Jacobs and Kahlil Dukes and forwards Nikola Jovanovic and Roschon Prince have combined to score 94 points in USC's last four games. Through USC's first five games, Jacobs is second on the team will 20 assists and is third with 26 rebounds. Jovanovic is averaging 8.0 points, Jacobs 6.8, Prince 3.2 and Dukes 2.7. Jovanovic is also fourth on the team with 22 rebounds.
SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC had four dunks in the game vs. West Alabama on Nov. 21 and now has out-slammed the opposition 18-4 through the first five games.
BATTLE 4 THE GLASS -- USC outrebounded West Alabama 48-34 on Nov. 21 and has won the battle on the boards in all five games this season for a 209-185 advantage in rebounds.
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 and then logged his first double-double with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds vs. CSUN on Nov. 12. He followed that up with a career-high 31 points vs. NAU on Nov. 15. The 31 points are a Galen Center record (O.J. Mayo had 32, but player participation was later vacated due to NCAA penalty). In the game on Nov. 19 vs. CSUF, Wesley led the Trojans with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Among Pac-12 players, he currently ranks among the Pac-12's top 10 in scoring (19.8), rebounding (8.8) and minutes per game (33.6).
ORABY, THE SULTAN OF SWAT -- Senior center Omar Oraby from Cairo, Egypt enters this season as lone remaining bigman that played significant minutes a year ago. 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. Oraby has averaged 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season with a team-leading 18 blocks. He is second among Pac-12 players with an average of 3.6 blocks per game. Oraby has 15 blocks in his last three games and tied his career high with six vs. CS Fullerton on Nov. 19.
TROJANS PAINTING A PRETTY PICTURE -- In the last four games USC has outscored the opposition 160-98 in points in the paint: vs. CSUN (50-26), vs. NAU (42-22), vs. CSUF (36-30) and vs. West Alabama (32-20).
TURNING THINGS AROUND -- In the first game at Utah State, USC shot 36.9 percent from the floor, 16.7 percent from three-point range while the Aggies made 48.3 percent of their shots, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Since then, USC has made 48.7 percent of its shots (111-for-228), 37.9 percent from three-point range (22-for-58) and held its opponents to 34.0 percent shooting (91-for-268), 30.0 percent from three point range (30-for-100).