USC Remains On Road Taking On Georgia Tech In Atlanta
Dec. 4, 2009
ATLANTA, GA. -- The USC Trojans (2-3) will face the No. 27/No. 23 ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-1) on Dec. 5 in Atlanta, Ga at 3:00 p.m. (PT). The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South with Rich Waltz and Larry Conley calling the action and will be shown on a delayed basis on USCTrojans.com. It will also air live on USC radio flagship sister station KLAA Radio 830 AM with Rory Markas and Jim Hefner calling the action.
SCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS -- Georgia Tech is 5-1 and is coming off a 74-61 win vs. Siena on Dec. 2. Forward Gani Lawal leads Georgia Tech with an average of 15.0 points and 11.0 rebounds. The Trojans and Yellow Jackets have met twice before with USC winning 76-57 last year at the Galen Center and falling in an NCAA second-round game 79-78 on March 21, 1992. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt spent the 1989-90 season as a graduate assistant at USC under George Raveling.
No. 2 TEXAS PULLS AWAY FROM TROJANS -- USC trailed No. 2 Texas 48-44 with 8:45 left in the game, but at that point the Longhorns went on a 21-6 run to secure a 69-50 win over the Trojans in Austin, Texas on Dec. 3. It was a tough defensive game with USC being held to 30.4 percent shooting, while Texas could only muster a 41.4 percentage from the field. The biggest difference in the game was the 34-11 advantage the Longhorns enjoyed in free throw attempts. Nikola Vucevic had his third double-double of the season with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. USC committed 17 turnovers and had only two assists. The two assists were the fewest by USC in a game since setting the school-record low of one assist on Feb. 25, 1988.
ON DECK -- USC will return home to face Sacramento State (4-4) at the Galen Center on Dec. 8. The Hornets are coming off a 59-57 win at UC Davis and will host Weber State before facing USC on Dec. 8. They already have surpassed their win total of last season (2-27), including knocking off the Pac-10's Oregon State 65-63 in Corvallis, Ore. The Hornets returned six lettermen, including three starters from last season. Leading the way for Sacramento State through eight games in scoring were Sultan Toles-Bey (12.3) and John Dickson (11.4). USC leads the all-time series 4-0, winning the last meeting 79-40 on Nov. 16, 1997.
TROJANS STILL FIND ROAD BUMPY -- USC was 2-8 in road games during the 2008-09 season and lost its first road game this season at Texas on Dec. 3. Dating back to last season, the Trojans have lost six consecutive road games and now will face No. 27/No. 23 Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Dec. 5.
NIKOLA THE NATURAL -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic set career highs in points (19) and rebounds (11) for his first career double-double vs. LMU on Nov. 21. He followed that game up with a new career-high in rebounds with 12 and scored 15 points vs. CSU on Nov. 27 for his second double-double. On Dec. 3 at Texas he notched his third double-double with 18 points and a new career-high in rebounds of 14. Through five games he is averaging 15.0 points and 11.2 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season.
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,111 career points, good for 26th all-time at USC, 5 points behind Jaha Wilson (1994-97) who is in 25th place and 16 behind Don Carfino (1977-80) who is in 24th place. Lewis entered the season fifth among returning Pac-10 players in career points. He also ranks 15th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 111 which ranks eighth among returning conference players. Lewis led USC with a 14.4 scoring average in 2008-09, as well in three-point baskets (55) and free throw shooting (74.8 percent). He reached double figures in scoring in 27 of his 33 games last season, scoring a career-high 26 twice (vs. San Francisco on Dec. 1 and at Oregon on Jan. 2). He scored 22 points in his first game this season and has had 10 career 20-point games.
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 55 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (140 games), including two this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 70 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 140 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and twice so far this season (Nebraska & Texas). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 88 of the last 110 games.
WINNING THE BOARD GAMES -- USC outrebounded the opposition last season in its first 11 games before being beaten on the glass 34-32 by ORU on Dec. 29 and had a rebounding edge in 27 of 35 games. USC is 3-1-1 in the rebound battle this season and outrebounded Coppin State, Nebraska and Texas in the last three games 126-90.
JOHNSON A SENIOR AGAIN -- USC redshirt senior guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who transfered to USC from UConn last year and had to sit out the first semester, stepped in an had an immediate impact for the Trojans in the final semester last season. Since then, he was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA, but had to sit out the first two games of this season due to playing in an exhibition game at UConn in 2007-08. In his first game on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. He then had 10 points and 5 rebounds vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29. USC is 14-6 in games he has been available to play in the last two seasons.
SIMMONS' SUMMER SHOOTING SPREE -- Junior guard Marcus Simmons has averaged 8.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in USC's first five games. He developed into USC's defensive stopper late last season and spent the summer working on his offense, including shooting until he made 1,000 shots a day...that is until his wrist started hurting and he had to back off some. It seems to have worked, though, as he is shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.
DONTE'S INFERNO -- Junior guard Donte Smith has been on fire from the field, making 50.0 percent of his shots, including 50.0 percent (9-for-18) of his three-pointers which ranks fifth among Pac-10 players. In the game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29, Smith was 4-for-4 from the field, including hitting two three-pointers. His nine three-pointers lead USC and are three fewer than he had all last season.