No. 25 USC Hosts Stanford Thursday In Pac-12 Home Opener|
Jan. 3, 2017
The No. 25 USC Trojans (14-1, 1-1) will host the Stanford Cardinal (8-6, 0-2) on Jan. 5 at 8:00 p.m. USC is coming off its first loss of the season which snapped a 14-game winning streak. The 14-game winning streak tied for fourth best in USC history and the 14-0 start was the best since the 1971 team began 16-0. USC head coach Andy Enfield is seeking his 100th career win.
BREAKING DOWN STANFORD -- The Cardinal (8-6, 0-2) opened up Pac-12 play with home losses to Arizona State (98-93) on Dec. 30 and Arizona (91-52) on Jan. 1. Stanford began the season 6-1, but has gone 2-5 since. Junior Reid Travis leads Stanford with an average of 17.5 points per game. USC lost its only game against Stanford last season, an 84-64 setback on Feb. 25 in Palo Alto, Calif., and has lost its last five games against the Cardinal. Stanford leads the all-time series 125-122 with one USC win vacated due to NCAA penalty.
USC SUFFERS FIRST LOSS OF SEASON AT OREGON -- USC’s 14-game winning streak came to a crashing halt in an 84-61 loss at Oregon on Dec. 30. The 14-0 start was USC’s best since the 1971 season and the 14 consecutive wins tied four the fourth-longest winning streak in school history. Oregon ran its home winning streak to 35 games. USC trailed 13-4 early then rallied back to take a 19-15 lead and the game remained close until the final 2:39 of the first half when Oregon went on a 9-2 run to open up a 38-29 lead at the break. Oregon opened the second half on a 21-3 run and USC never really challenged after that. De’Anthony Melton led USC with 13 points and Jonah Mathews added 11. USC entered the game tied for 11th in the country with just 10.5 turnovers per game, but finished with 17 turnovers and was outscored 23-4 on points off of turnovers. All five USC starters finished with 3 turnovers. Dillon Brooks scored a season-high 28 points and Dylan Ennis added 21 to lead Oregon. USC shot a season-low 31.0 percent, while Oregon made 46.4 percent from the floor, including 9 of 10 by Brooks. USC starters Chimezie Metu, Shaqquan Aaron and Jordan McLaughlin were a combined 3-for-25 in the game. USC has now lost 13 consecutive games to Oregon, seven straight in Eugene.
USC IN CONFERENCE HOME OPENERS -- USC has won its last two Pac-12 home openers and is 31-19 in its last 50 conference home openers.
CALIFORNIA ON DECK -- USC’s next game will be vs. California (10-4, 1-1) at the Galen Center on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. California will be playing at UCLA on Jan. 5, its first true road game of the season, before facing USC. The Golden Bears have three players averaging 15 or more points per game: Jabari Bird (15.8), Charlie Moore (15.3) and Ivan Rabb (15.2). California defeated USC 87-65 at home last season in the only meeting between the two schools. California has won the last two games against USC and leads the all-time series 135-122 (with 1 USC win vacated do to NCAA penalty).
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 12 Division I schools (out of 351) which has one loss or less through games of Jan. 2. There are three remaining undefeated team this season: Villanova, Baylor and Gonzaga.
SHOOTERS SLOWING THEIR ROLL -- In the last six games USC is averaging 78.2 points, while making 43.9 percent of its shots, including 35.1 percent from three-point range. In the first nine games, USC averaged 82.7 points, shot 46.3 from the floor and 36.6 from three-point range. USC has made 6.5 three-pointers per game in the last six contests and made 8.8 per game in the first nine games of the season.
GOOD TO BE HOME -- Tonight’s game will be USC’s first at home since Dec. 19 vs. Cornell. USC’s last four games have included two games in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Las Vegas Classic and games at Oregon State and Oregon. To date, 7 of USC’s 15 games have been played away from the Galen Center. USC has won 24 of its last 26 games played at the Galen Center.
TORCHING THE TWINE -- After beginning the season making 38.0 percent of its shots and 24.7 from three-point range in the first three games, the Trojans have heated up. In the last 12 games, USC is shooing 47.2 percent from the floor (341-for-722), including 38.9 percent from three-point range (100-for-257). However, USC shot just 31.0 percent in the loss at Oregon on Dec. 30.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 14.1 points 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He is also making 50.4 percent of his shots (70-for-139), including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 75 assists and second with a 2.5 assist to turnover ratio through games on Jan. 2. In the last eight games, he has averaged 17.5 points (140 total), 4.6 rebounds (37 total) and 5.0 assists (40 total), while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor (44-for-86). McLaughlin has 335 career assists which ranks seventh on USC’s all-time assists list. Gus Williams is sixth on the list with 362 career assists as a Trojan. Has made 33 of last 35 free throw attempts (94.3 percent).
SULTANS OF SWAT -- USC set a school record for blocks in a game with 14 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 and has recorded 53 blocks in the last seven games (7.6 per game). For the season, USC is averaging 6.5 blocks per game which ranks tied for 7th in the country and is on a pace which would break last season’s school record total of 188. Four different Trojans have at least 14 blocks in USC’s first 15 games: Metu (28), Stewart (22), Melton (17) and Rakocevic (14).
SECOND HALF SURGE -- USC scored 53 points in the second half against UCSB on Nov. 27, 52 in the second half against BYU on Dec. 3 and has averaged 42.3 points (635 total) after halftime this season. USC’s opponents have averaged 38.2 points (572 total) in the second half against the Trojans. USC won or tied in second-half scoring in the first 11 games, but has been outscored after the break in the last four games.
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and six are averaging at least 9.8 points per game.
STEW CAN DO -- Junior guard Elijah Stewart made a career-high seven three-point baskets vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 to tie for fourth on USC’s single-game three-point baskets made list. He had made at least one shot from beyond the arc in 20 consecutive games dating back to last season, before going 0-for-5 at Oregon State on Dec. 28. His career total of 135 three-pointers made ranks 11th on USC’s all-time list, 10 behind Stais Boseman who is 10th with 145. Stewart leads USC with a 14.7 ppg average and with 38 three-point baskets, while ranking second in blocks (22), tied for third in rebounds (83) and fourth in free throws made (34). He has also scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games this season, with a high of 30 points. Stewart’s 2.5 made three-pointers per game is fourth among all Pac-12 players. Stewart also has 22 blocks this season and 85 in his career which ties him with Dewayne Dedmon for 10th on USC’s all-time blocked shots list.
METU CONTINUES HIS RISE -- Sophomore Chimezie Metu scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 for his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career. He tied a season high with 19 points at Oregon State on Dec. 28 and in the last 10 games he has averaged 13.9 points (139 total) and 8.3 rebounds (83 total). For the season he is averaging 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds and leads the team with 28 blocks and 28 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 14 steals. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 12 of the 15 games this season.
DE’ANTHONY DOING IT ALL -- Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton scored a career-high 16 points, had eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. He is tied for first among Pac-12 players with 26 steals and his 1.7 steals per game ranks second. He has at least two steals in eight of 15 games. Melton is averaging 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 46 assists. He ranks ninth in the conference with a 1.7 assist to turnover ratio.
MATHEWS HAS BREAKOUT GAME -- Freshman guard Jonah Mathews has provided USC with valuable minutes off the bench all season, but none more impressive than in the overtime win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. With several Trojans in foul trouble, Mathews played a season-high 39 minutes and scored a career-best 26 points and registered a USC 2016-17 best six steals. Mathews made 5 of 8 three-pointers, including a cluch trey to tie the game at 90-all in overtime. He followed that up with 10 points at Oregon State on Dec. 28 and a team-high 11 points at Oregon on Dec. 30. He is averaging 15.6 points (47 total) in the last three games and is third on the team with 18 three-point baskets made.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC’s roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 63.9 percent of the minutes played this season (1932 of 3025 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 328th in the country in terms of game experience.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held the opposition to 70.6 points per game and to a .395 shooting percentage. USC has held 10 of its opponents to under 40 percent shooting and only three over 41.5 percent (UCSB 45.5 percent, BYU 43.5 & Oregon 46.4 percent). USC has also only had three games in which it has had more fouls than its opponent (23-22 vs. SMU, 22-17 vs. Wyoming & 20-16 at Oregon).