Men's Basketball
    USC At Stanford Saturday Seeking First Pac-12 Victory
    James Blasczyk had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench at California on Dec. 29.
    James Blasczyk had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench at California on Dec. 29.

    Dec. 30, 2011

    Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    USC (5-9, 0-1) will play at Stanford (11-2, 1-0) at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FS West with Paul Sunderland and Brandon Granville calling the action and Amy Bender providing sideline commentary. The game will also air on 1090 AM.

    BREAKING DOWN THE CARDINAL -- The Cardinal opened Pac-12 play with a 60-59 home win vs. UCLA on Dec. 29, despite it being Stanford's lowest scoring total of the season. Stanford has three players scoring in double figures: Josh Owens (12.4), Aaron Bright (11.7) and Chasson Randle (11.6). The Cardinal has outrebounded its opponents by nearly 8 rebounds per game. USC has won its last three games against Stanford and leads the all-time series 121-118.

    USC'S COMEBACK FALLS SHORT AT CAL -- Allen Crabbe converted 3 free throws after a controversial foul call with 8.4 seconds left and California earned a hard-fought 53-49 victory over USC in the Pac-12 opener for both schools in Berkeley, Calif. on Dec. 29. USC had trimmed a 16-point second-half deficit (40-24) to one point at 50-49 when Aaron Fuller scored a layup with 44 seconds left. Cal ran the clock down for one shot in the hands of Jorge Gutierrez who had his layup attempt blocked by Dewayne Dedmon. The rebounded was controlled on the perimeter by Cal's Allen Crabbe who heaved the ball towards the rim as the shot clock expired. After a long review and debate by the officials, it was determined that Crabbe was fouled before the shot clock went off and that it was a three-pointer. Three swishes later by Crabbe and Cal walked away with the win and ran its home record to 10-0. Maurice Jones fueled USC's comeback by knocking down three late 3-pointers to finish with 17 points.

    ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- Arizona State entered conference play with a 4-8 record and will play at Arizona on Dec. 31 before facing USC at the Galen Center on Jan 5. Sophomore Keala King (14.2) and juniors Trent Lockett (13.8) and Felix Carrick (10.7) have double-figure scoring averages. USC defeated ASU both meetings last season and leads the all-time series 51-33.

    OPENING PAC-12 PLAY IN THE BAY -- USC is opening Pac-12 play in the Bay Area, not the easiest road trip traditionally for the Trojans. USC pulled off a sweep of Cal and Stanford up north last season, its first since the 1992 season. From 1993-2010 USC went a combined 7-29 at Cal and Stanford with five of the wins against the Bears (2 by forfeit).

    A BIG HILL TO CLIMB -- When starting point guard and senior leader Jio Fontan went down with a knee injury in August it left USC with just 19.7 percent of its scoring returning and 12.4 percent of its rebounding returning entering the 2011-12 season. In terms of returning scoring for teams from BCS conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12), only 3 schools: St. Johns (3.7 percent), Boston College (10.8 percent) and Texas (17.0 percent) have a lower percentage of returning production. There were only eight schools in the country which entered the season with less than 20 percent of its scoring returning from a season ago.

    BIG GAME HUNTERS -- USC has four wins against ranked teams outside of the conference in the three seasons with Kevin O'Neill as the head coach. The Pac-12 as a whole has a total of nine wins in that stretch against ranked non-conference opponents.

    SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE -- USC has held all 14 opponents under 66 points, while Stanford has scored 66 or more points in 10 of 13 games with a low of 60.

    TROJANS TAKE ROUTE 66 -- USC has held its opponents to an average of 55.8 points per game (T-10th lowest in the country) and has not allowed an opponent to score more than 66 points this season. It is the first time USC has started a season holding the opposition to 66 points or less for the first 14 games since the 1948 season when it held all 24 opponents to under 66 points.

    TOE THE LINE -- In games USC has at least 20 free throw attempts they are 3-2 with the losses being a double-overtime setback vs. Nebraska and a 4-point loss to Georgia, which made 9 of 13 3-point shots to earn the win.

    NO DEFENSE FOR THIS -- USC has been outscored from the free throw line by 34 points in the first 14 games. USC has struggled at the charity stripe, making just 60.1 percent (137-for-228). USC's opponents have connected at a 75.3 clip (171-for-227).

    ALWAYS ENTERTAINING -- Forty-eight of the 78 games played by USC in the last three seasons have been decided by 10 points or less (61.5 percent). Also, 21 of the 38 losses have been decided by 6 points or less (55.3 percent). USC played five consecutive games decided by 7 points or less to start the season before losing by 11 points to UNLV on Nov. 25. It was the first time since the 2010 season and just the third time in the past 21 seasons USC had played five straight games decided by 7 points or less. USC then defeated South Carolina be three points on Nov. 26, before winning by 21 at UC Riverside and losing by 15 at Minnesota. USC then returned home to lose by three points to New Mexico and by four to Georgia. Nine of USC's 14 games this season have been decided by 7 points or less and 6 by 4 points or less.

    DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held its opponents to 55.8 points per game and a 39.8 shooting percentage through the first 14 games. USC held opponents to a conference low of 62.7 points per game during the 2010-11 season. USC was 13-1 in games it held the opponent under 60 points last season, the lone loss being its NCAA Tournament loss to VCU (59-46). In the past seven seasons, USC has held the opponent to under 60 points 89 times and is 70-19 in those games (.787 winning percentage). USC also held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting 16 times during the 2010-11 season and was 14-2 in those games. During the past seven seasons USC has held the opponent to under 40 percent shooting 109 times and is 84-25 in those games (.771 winning percentage). USC has allowed 80 points or more just five times in the first 78 games under head coach Kevin O'Neill and one of those games was a double-overtime contest. USC is 0-5 in those games.

    BOARD GAMES -- USC outrebounded California 38-28 on Dec. 29, including getting 18 offensive boards, its most since registering 20 in the third game of the 2010-11 season. USC fell to 4-2 this season when having more or the same amount of rebounds as the opposition and is 1-7 when being outrebounded. USC allowed 10 or more offensive rebounds eight times. USC was 4-11 in the games it was outrebounded last season.

    FRESHMAN FOUNDATION - USC freshmen guards Byron Wesley and Alexis Moore look to be providing the Trojans with good building blocks for the future. Through 14 games, Wesley is the fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder on the team with averages of 6.3 and 4.6 respectively. He is also second on the team in assists with 26. Moore is fifth on the team with a 5.6 scoring average and is second on the team in three-point baskets (16). Wesley has started every game and his 32.6 minutes per game played are the most by a freshman in the Pac-12.

    THE YOUNG AND SURE-HANDED - As a young team playing with no senior scholarship players and just three scholarship players who had played in the USC system before, USC has committed just 12.7 turnovers per game. USC had a combined 34 turnovers in its last two games, but had averaged 9.8 turnovers per game in the previous six contests and has 12 or less turnovers in eight games this season.

    MIGHTY MO -- USC's Maurice Jones leads the country in minutes played per game, averaging 38.8 through the first 14 games, one of only five players in the country averaging more than 38.0 minutes per game. It is nothing new for Jones who averaged 37.9 minutes per game through 14 games last season and finished averaging 34.5 minutes played per game.

    TERRELL'S BEEN A TERROR -- USC's top recruit JC guard J.T. Terrell has averaged 29.5 points through 10 games for No. 1 Peninsula JC (Wash.). He's hitting 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range. In Peninsula's win on Dec. 3 vs. No. 7 Highline, Terrell hit a three-pointer for the lead and then added two free throws to seal the victory.