USC Hosts Idaho State Friday
Dec. 10, 2009
The USC Trojans (3-4) will face the Idaho State Bengals (2-7) on Dec. 11 in the Galen Center at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on USCTrojans.com. It will also air live on USC radio flagship sister station KGIL 1260 AM with Rory Markas and Jim Hefner calling the action.
SCOUTING THE BENGALS -- The Idaho State Bengals are 2-7 this season after falling 79-67 at home to Boise State on Dec. 9. ISU was 13-19 last season, but return 4 starters and 8 lettermen. They have wins this season vs. Colorado Christian and at UMKC. ISU's leading scorers through 9 games are Amorrow Morgan (15.3), Broderick Gilchrest (13.1) and Demetrius Monroe (11.7). USC leads the all-time series 4-0, winning the last meeting 77-68 on Nov. 28, 1980.
USC DEFEATS SACRAMENTO STATE -- USC defeated Sacramento State 51-36 at the Galen Center on Dec. 8 to snap a three-game losing streak. The Trojans committed a season-high 25 turnovers, but held the Hornets to 23.0 percent shooting to secure the victory. USC recorded 12 blocks in the game, tying the school record set in 1982. Nikola Vucevic (14 points/15 rebounds) and Alex Stepheson (10 points/10 rebounds) both registered double-doubles.
VOLS ON DECK -- The No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers are 6-1, with the only setback coming to No. 5 Purdue by a score of 73-72 in the finals of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Volunteers will face Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 11 and Wyoming on Dec. 15 before facing the Trojans on Dec. 19. Through the team's first seven games, Tennessee had four players averaging in double figures in points: Scotty Hopson (15.7), Tyler Smith (13.3), Wayne Chism (11.9) and Cameron Tatum (10.4). Tennessee has averaged 25.0 more points than its opponents in the first seven games. Tennessee leads the all-time series with USC 4-1, winning the last meeting 74-70 on Dec. 30, 1997. USC's head coach Kevin O'Neill was the head coach for the Volunteers for the 1995-97 seasons.
AS RUST SHAKES OFF, STEPHESON SHINES -- Alex Stepheson showed signs he is shaking off the rust of more than a year away from game action, as he scored a career-high 22 points at Georgia Tech on Dec. 5 and then had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 8 for his second career double-double. He played in his first game as a Trojan on Nov. 27 vs. Coppin State and registered his first career double-double on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska with 13 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. In his first five games, he has averaged 11.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
STEPHESON LEADS THE SWAT TEAM -- Alex Stepheson's 7 blocks on Dec. 8 vs. Sac. State helped USC tie a school record of 12 blocks set on Nov. 30, 1982 vs. Santa Clara. Stepheson's total tied him for the fourth most in a game by a Trojan (3 players had 8). Stepheson has 14 blocks already this season, which is more than any Trojan had in 35 games last season, accept for Taj Gibson who set the school single-season block record with 100.
WHAT TURNOVER PROBLEM? -- USC has 118 turnovers through 7 games (16.9 per game), the same total it had through 7 games last season. That team averaged 16.8 turnovers in the first 12 games, then averaged 12.4 over the final 23 contests en route to a 22-13 season.
AS MANY DOUBLE-DOUBLES AS DOUBLE-D -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic already has four double-doubles in his first seven games this season to lead all Pac-10 players and would you believe it, as many as DeMar DeRozan had last year in his phenomenal freshman season. Vucevic scored 14 points and posted a career-high 15 rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. Sac. State for his fourth double-double. He had a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds vs. LMU on Nov. 21, 15 points and 12 rebounds vs. Coppin St. on Nov. 27 and 18 points and 14 rebounds at Texas on Dec. 3. Through seven games he is averaging 14.4 points and 11.0 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 11.0 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND-CHANCE SEASON -- USC redshirt senior guard/forward Marcus Johnson, who played the second semester last season after transferring to USC from UConn, was granted another year of eligibilty by the NCAA following the season, but penalized two games for playing in an exhibition game in the 2007-08 season. USC is 15-7 in games he has been available to play in the two seasons. In his first game this season on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. He had his Trojan highs of 12 points and 4 steals at Georgia Tech on Dec. 5. He then matched career highs with 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, while scoring 7 points vs. Sac. State on Dec. 8. Johnson leads USC with 12 steals, despite only playing in five games.
SIMMONS' SUMMER SHOOTING SPREE -- Junior guard Marcus Simmons has averaged 6.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in USC's first seven 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 48.5 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.
SMITH STEPPING UP -- Junior guard Donte Smith has averaged 7.9 points through USC's first seven games and leads the team with 11 three-pointers made (11-for-29, 37.9 percent), just one fewer three-pointer than he made all last season. In the game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 29, Smith was 4-for-4 from the field, including hitting two three-pointers.
THE DWIGHT STUFF -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,127 career points, tied for 24th all-time at USC with Don Carfino (1977-80) and one point behind Jeff Trepagnier (1998-01) who is in 23rd place with 1,128. 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 113 which ranks eighth among returning conference players and one behind Duane Cooper (1988-89, 1991-92) who ranks 14th on USC's all-time list. 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 56 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (142 games), including three this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 71 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 142 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and three times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas & GT). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 89 of the last 112 games. USC held Sac. State to 23.0 percent shooting on Dec. 8, the lowest percentage by a Trojan opponent since Loyola Marymount shot 22.4 percent from the field on Dec. 9, 1998.
WINNING THE BOARD GAMES -- USC is 5-1-1 in the rebound battle this season and has outrebounded each of its last five opponents (Coppin State, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia Tech & Sac. State) for a total rebound advantage of 211-150.