USC Heads To Nebraska For First True Road Game
Nov. 30, 2012
USC (3-3) will play Nebraska (5-1) in Lincoln, Neb. on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. (CT). The Trojans played three neutral site games at the Maui Invitational, but this will be the first road game of the season. USC has lost three of its last four games.
NEBRASKA PREVIEW -- The Cornhuskers are 5-1 after winning 79-63 at Wake Forest on Nov. 27. Center Andre Almeida led the Cornhuskers in that game with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Nebraska lost its only game of the season at home on Nov. 24 to Kent State (74-60), but has home wins over Southern (66-55), Valparaiso (50-48), Nebraska-Omaha (75-62) and Tulane (61-57). Huskers Dylan Talley (15.8), Brandon Ubel (14.8) and Ray Gallegos (13.0) and are all averaging double figures in points per game. USC is playing Nebraska for the fourth consecutive season, losing three consecutive tight games by a total of eight points (51-48 at home on a late 3-pointer in the 2010 season, 60-58 at Nebraska in a game USC led by 20 points in the 2011 season and a 64-61 double-overtime home loss last season). USC leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 5-4.
TOUGH START, BAD FINISH DOOM TROJANS AGAINST SDSU -- USC used an 18-4 run at the start of the second half to help erase an early 19-point deficit, but the No. 25 Aztecs responded and pulled out a hard-fought 66-60 win at the Galen Center on Nov. 25. It was the 25th consecutive win for SDSU over team in the state of California. USC made just 3 of its first 20 shots and fell behind 27-8, before starting its comeback. SDSU made 11 of its first 17 shots, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. The game was decided for all intents and purposes when with SDSU ahead 56-55 with 2:18 left, the Aztec's Jamaal Franklin was fouled on the perimeter by Jio Fontan. Franklin, however, kept driving to the basket and Omar Oraby's hard foul to deny a possible layup ended up with a technical being called. After four free throws and the ball, SDSU came out of that exchange with a six-point lead and held on. Eric Wise led USC with 14 points and Dewayne Dedmon added 7 points and 10 rebounds. Franklin and James Rahon led SDSU with 17 points apiece. USC again struggled with its shooting, making 33.3 percent of its field goal attempts.
"PIT" STOP IN NEW MEXICO ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at No. 25/No. 23 New Mexico (7-0) in Albuquerque, N.M. at Bob King Court, better known as "The Pit," on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. (MT). The Pit was ranked as the loudest arena by the St. Petersburg Times and as one of the best homecourt advantages by Rivals. The Lobos are 81-10 in the last six seasons at home. Tony Snell (13.7), Kendall Williams (12.9) and Alex Kirk (11.7) are all averaging double figures in scoring in the early going. Steve Alford has a 133-46 record in six seasons as the New Mexico head coach. The all-time series between USC and UNM is tied 5-5 with UNM winning the last four, including a 44-41 victory at the Galen Center on Dec. 10, 2011. The Lobos will play at Indiana State on Dec. 1 before hosting the Trojans.
ROUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD -- USC was 1-11 in road games last season, going 0-9 in conference play and losing its final 10 road contests. Over the last three seasons, USC is 8-28 in road games.
TROJANS TAKING A THORNY TRAIL -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country and they are currently going through one of the hardest stretches. In the seven-game stretch which began vs. Illinois on Nov. 19 in Maui and ends Dec. 8 vs. Minnesota, USC is playing three teams that are currently ranked (Illinois, San Diego State and New Mexico) and the seven teams have a composite record of 41-7. USC only plays two home games in that stretch.
SLOW STARTERS -- USC has scored the first points of the game only once in six tries this season and have been outscored 211-171 in the first half, while winning the second halves and overtime by a combined score of 225-191. USC has shot 38.3 percent in the first half and 41.8 percent in the second half of games. USC has also gotten to the free throw line 26 more times in the second half and shoots free throws at a 68.2 clip after the break (45-for-66), while shooting 65.0 percent (26-for-40) in the first half. USC has also been outrebounded by 13 in the first half of games, while owning a 19-rebound edge in the second half. The same can be said about the turnover category where USC has 43 in the first half of games and 31 in the second half. USC's leading scorer J.T. Terrell has scored 7.7 points per game in the second half and 4.2 points per game in the first half. The biggest descrepancy is on the defensive side, where USC has allowed opposition teams to shoot 48.4 percent in the first half (75-for-155), including a 48.1 percentage from three-point range (25-for-52), while holding them to a 35.1 FG percentage (54-for-154) and a 29.8 3-point FG percentage (17-for-57) in the second half of games.
IT'S WISE TO DIVERSIFY -- USC redshirt senior Eric Wise has been a stat-sheet stuffer, ranking among the Trojans' leaders in most categories while averaging 11.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Through the first six games among USC players, he ranks first in field goals made (28) and steals (9), second in points (68), rebounds (40) and assists (11) and third in free throws made (10) and blocks (3).
ASSISTS KEEP POURING OUT OF THE FONTAN -- USC redshirt senior point guard Jio Fontan has averaged 6.0 assists per game this season, second among Pac-12 players. In the past two games he has been even better, dishing out nine assists in both the game vs. Marquette on Nov. 21 and at home vs. San Diego State on Nov. 25. Fontan sat out all of last season due to a torn ACL. In 24 games for USC in the 2010-11 season, he averaged 3.9 assists and 10.5 points.
STEWART PROVIDING INSTANT OFFENSE -- USC junior wing Ari Stewart has averaged 5.2 points and 1.2 rebounds off the bench in USC's first six games. He hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine points vs. San Diego State on Nov. 25 and has a season-best 10 points on Nov. 13 vs. Long Beach State. In prorated points per 40 minutes played, Stewart is second on the team with an 18.2 average, behind only Omar Oraby's 21.0. Stewart is second on the team in three-point baskets with six.
DEDMON RULING THE BOARDS -- USC junior forward Dewayne Dedmon has averaged 7.7 rebounds per games this season. He had a career-high 12 rebounds on Nov. 9 vs. Coppin State and has recorded double figures in rebounds in three of the six games. He has been especially tough on the offensive boards with 21, tied for the conference lead.