USC Hosts Dayton Sunday In Final Game Before Pac-12 Play
Dec. 27, 2012
USC (4-8) will host Dayton (9-3) at the Galen Center on Dec. 30 at 4:00 p.m. The Trojans have lost seven of eight games since starting the season 3-1.
BREAKING DOWN THE FLYERS -- The Flyers are 9-3 and led by Cousy Award Watch List candidate Kevin Dillard who is averaging 15.3 points and 4.6 assists per game. The guard is not the only Flyer filling the nets, as guard Vee Sanford (12.7), forward Josh Benson (11.0) and forward Devin Oliver (9.9) are all averaging nearly 10 points or more. Archie Miller is in his second season at the helm of the Dayton program, guiding the Flyers to a 20-13 record in his first season. Dayton defeated Murray State 77-68 at home on Dec. 22 with Sanford scoring 23 points and Dillard adding 18. This is the first meeting all-time between USC and Dayton.
USC FALLS AT GEORGIA -- Georgia used a 20-5 run over the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to take control in a 64-56 win vs. USC at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. on Dec. 22. Super sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs back by scoring 12 of his game-high 25 points in the first 4:30 of the second half as Georgia opened a nine-point lead. USC led the entire first half and then trailed the entire second half after Georgia took the lead 22 seconds after the break. USC cut the lead to two points at 47-45 with 10:50 left in the game, but Caldwell-Pope answered with a three-pointer and USC got no closer than four points the rest of the way. Omar Oraby led USC with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double as a Trojan and fourth of his career.
USC KICKS OFF PAC-12 PLAY VS. STANFORD -- The Stanford Cardinal will be at the Galen Center for a game on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. which will begin conference play for both teams. Stanford, under the leadership of fifth-year head coach Johnny Dawkins, is 8-4 after an 70-68 win at Northwestern on Dec. 21. Junior forward Dwight Powell has led the Cardinal in scoring with a 14.9 average and is second in rebounding with a 6.9 average. USC has lost its last two games against Stanford, but leads the all-time series, 121-120
SPORADIC SHOOTING -- USC has struggled to find consistency shooting the ball this season, while averaging only 42.2 percent. In six of the games USC has shot 40.4 percent or less, while shooting 44.2 percent or higher in five games.
IT'S WISE TO DIVERSIFY -- USC redshirt senior Eric Wise has been a stat-sheet stuffer this season for USC, ranking among the Trojans' leaders in most categories while averaging 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Among USC players, he ranks first in field goals made (51) and points (129), tied for first in steals (15), second in rebounds (57), third in blocks (6), fourth in assists (17) and fourth in free throws made (20). Wise has been USC's leading scorer in six of the 12 games and been the second-leading scorer twice. He also has scored in double figures in nine of the 12 games. Wise entered the week ranked 11th in field goal percentage (53.1) among conference players.
DEFENSE TIGHTENING -- USC has held the opposition to an average of 50.3 points over the last three games, after surrendering an average of 67.9 points in the first nine games.
GUARDING THE LINE -- USC has allowed the opposition to make 37.6 percent of its three-point attempts this season, but has made adjustments and is holding opponents to a 27.3 percent from beyond the arc in the last four games (18-for-66). In the first eight games USC's opponents made 42.1 percent of its three-point shots.
FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 17 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 11 points. USC's opponents have made 82 three-pointers to the Trojans' 59 and have made 22 more free throws.
TALK ABOUT A STRONG SCHEDULE... -- USC's schedule is one of the toughest in the country, currently ranked No. 44 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 26 (No. 12 Illinois, No. 17 San Diego State, No. 26 New Mexico and No. 11 Minnesota) and the seven teams have a composite record of 70-18. Only two of the seven games in that stretch were at home.
THREES ARE OFTEN THE KEYS -- In USC's eight losses this season, the opposition has made 63 of 147 three-pointers for a 42.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. In six of the eight losses, USC allowed the opposition to make at least six three-pointers, Illinois (13), San Diego State (7), Nebraska (11), New Mexico (11), Minnesota (6) and UC Irvine (9). In USC's four wins, the opponents have made 26.7 percent of their three-point shots (19-for-71).
TOPS IN SCORING "D" THREE YEARS RUNNING - USC allowed just 59.7 points per game last season, tops among conference teams. In all three seasons with Kevin O'Neill as the USC head coach, the Trojans have allowed the fewest points per game among Pac-12 schools. The Trojans currently allow 63.5 points per game, which ranks fifth among conference teams.
THAT WAS DIFFERENT -- USC led 28-27 at halftime at Georgia on Dec. 22, only the second time in the last 10 games that the Trojans took a lead into the locker room (also a 39-12 lead at the half vs. UC Riverside on Dec. 15). The bad news for USC was that it lost the second half (37-28), only the third time all season the Trojans were beaten after the break and the other two were by a combined six points. USC has been outscored 401-348 in the first half, while winning the second halves and overtime by a combined score of 403-361. USC has also been outrebounded by 15 in the first half of games, while owning a 22-rebound edge in the second half. The same can be said about the turnover category where USC has 92 in the first half of games and 69 in the second half. The biggest descrepancy is on the defensive side, where USC has allowed opposition teams to shoot 45.2 percent in the first half (147-for-325), including a 43.8 percentage from three-point range (49-for-112), while holding them to a 37.0 FG percentage (112-for-303) and a 31.7 three-point FG percentage (33-for-104) in the second half and overtime of games.