USC Hosts UC Irvine On Thursday
Dec. 19, 2012
USC (4-6) will host UC Irvine (5-7) at the Galen Center on Dec. 20 at 8:00 p.m. USC is in a stretch of playing six out of seven games at home (1-1), after playing at the Galen Center once in the previous six games. USC is 3-2 at home this season.
BREAKING DOWN THE ANTEATERS -- UC Irvine is 5-7 to begin the season, playing a strong nonconference schedule which has already included a tough one-point loss at UCLA on Nov. 13, a 28-point setback at No. 21 UNLV on Nov. 28 and a 6-point home loss to LSU (7-1) on Dec. 18. Through the first 12 games, guards Daman Starring (12.5), Chris McNealy (9.2) and Michael Wilder (8.5) are leading the Anteaters in scoring. USC leads the all-time series against UCI, 6-1, winning the last meeting 62-49 to open the 2010-11 season on Nov. 13, 2010.
USC DEFEATS UCR WITH RECORD-SETTING DEFENSIVE EFFORT -- USC held UC Riverside to a school opponent low shooting percentage and cruised to a 70-26 win on Dec. 15 at the Galen Center. UCR made 19.0 percent of its shots to break the previous low by an opponent of 19.2 set by Oregon State on Dec. 11, 1954. Also, the 26 points allowed were the fewest by a Trojan opponent since Whittier scored only 22 points on Dec. 16, 1946. USC didn't get off to a great start, but still led 5-2 after six minutes when UCR made its first basket. From that point on the Trojans took off, leading 39-12 at halftime. The 12 points were a Galen Center first-half low by an opponent. USC held UCR to just one point in the first 14 minutes of the second half to open up a 57-13 lead before a Chris Harriel three-pointer at the 5:38 mark provided the Highlanders with their first second-half basket. Jio Fontan and Eric Wise scored 14 points each to lead USC. The Trojans shot 52.0 percent from the floor and snapped a five-game losing streak.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND -- USC's next game will be at Georgia (3-7) on Dec. 22 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs defeated Mercer 58-49 at home on Dec. 18 to snap a three-game losing streak. Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leads Georgia in scoring (17.4) and rebounding (7.4) averages. Georgia won 63-59 at the Galen Center last season by making 51.2 percent of its shots, including 69.1 percent from three-point range to overcome an eight-point deficit in the second half. Georgia leads the all-time series 2-0, also winning 77-75 in overtime on Dec. 30, 1972 in the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia, Pa.
SHOOTING COMING AROUND -- USC has struggled shooting the ball this season making 42.5 percent of its shots, but showed signs it was of coming out of its slump by making 45 percent in the second half at Nebraska, 52.9 percent in the game at New Mexico, 42.6 percent vs. Minnesota and 52.0 percent vs. UCR. In the last seven halves of basketball, USC has made 48.6 percent of its shots (85-for-175). In the four full games prior to the UNM game, USC had a combined 36.1 shooting percentage (84-for-233) after making 45.6 percent of its shots in the first three games (77-for-169).
TALK ABOUT A STRONG SCHEDULE... -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country, currently ranked No. 14 by CBSSportsline, and the Trojans just completed one of the hardest stretches. In the seven-game stretch which began vs. Illinois on Nov. 19 in Maui and ended Dec. 8 vs. Minnesota, USC played four teams that are currently ranked in the top 20 (No. 10 Illinois, No. 18 San Diego State, No. 16 New Mexico and No. 13 Minnesota) and the seven teams have a composite record of 61-11. Only two of the seven games in that stretch were at home.
TOUGH TEAMS TO BEAT -- The combined record of the six teams USC has lost to this season is 55-7, with two teams being undefeated and two others having just one loss. Four of the six losses have come against teams currently ranked within the top 18 in the country.
FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 22 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has only outscored its opponents by four points. USC's opponents have made 71 three-pointers to the Trojans' 49 and have made 18 more free throws.
RAINING THREES IN THE SIX LOSSES -- In USC's six losses this season, the opposition has made 52 of 114 three-pointers for a 45.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In the last four losses, USC allowed San Diego State to make 7 of 15, Nebraska to make 11 of 17, New Mexico to make 11 of 24 and Minnesota to make 6 of 19 three-pointers for a total of 35 out of 75 (46.7 percent). In USC's four wins, the opponents have made 26.7 percent of their three-point shots (19-for-71).
THE INSIDE JOB -- Center Omar Oraby was 7-for-9 and scored 15 points vs. Minnesota on Dec. 8, with all of his points coming from inside the paint in the second half of the game. He made his first start on Dec. 15 vs. UCR and scored 7 points on 2-for-3 shooting. Oraby has made 60.9 percent (28-for-46) of his shots this season and has averaged 6.9 points while playing 14.2 minutes per game.
BLOCK PARTY...-- USC had a season-high 10 blocks on Dec. 15 vs. UC Riverside, led by a career-high six from Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon's total tied him for the eighth-best single-game total by a Trojan. The 10 blocks were the most by a Trojan team since also registering 10 vs. Stanford on Feb. 6, 2010.