No. 25 USC Hosts California On Sunday|
Jan. 7, 2017
The No. 25 USC Trojans (15-1, 2-1) will host the California Golden Bears (10-5, 1-2) on Jan. 8 at 7:00 p.m. USC’s 15-1 start is its best since the 1971 team began 16-0 en route to a 24-2 record. Head coach Andy Enfield picked up his 100th career victory (100-83) with the win vs. Stanford on Jan. 5 and is now 59-55 at USC in three-plus seasons.
BREAKING DOWN CALIFORNIA -- California (10-5, 1-2) is coming off an 81-71 loss at UCLA on Jan. 5. California outrebounded UCLA 48-37 and has outrebounded the opposition by 8.4 rebounds per game this season. The Golden Bears have three players averaging 14 or more points per game: Ivan Rabb (15.3), Charlie Moore (15.1) and Jabari Bird (14.3). 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).
USC DEFEATS STANFORD IN PAC-12 HOME OPENER -- Jordan McLaughlin scored 15 points and Chimezie Metu had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as USC defeated Stanford 72-56 on Jan. 5 in its Pac-12 home opener. USC scored the first basket of the game and never trailed after that, being tied for 2 minutes. USC won both halves by a score of 36-28 and unfortunately had identical totals of 9 turnovers in each half. USC’s 18 turnovers were a season high. The Trojans also caused 21 turnovers and outscored Stanford 27-9 on points off turnovers. USC had 10 steals and held the Cardinal to 36.4 percent shooting, while making 42.1 percent of its own shots. USC won the rebound battle 38-32, including 22-14 in the second half. De’Anthony Melton added 12 points and Jonah Mathews had 10 points and four steals. Dorian Pickens and Marcus Allen led Stanford with 13 points apiece. Leading 27-26 late in the first half, the Trojans ran off an 18-6 run, taking a 45-32 lead on a fast-break dunk by Elijah Stewart off a nice feed from McLaughlin. Stanford could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way. USC’s biggest lead was 68-50.
USC SEEKS RARE QUICK CONFERENCE START -- USC is 2-1 in Pac-12 play and is looking to start 3-1 in conference action for just the second time in the last 10 seasons (4-1 in 2016). USC has started 3-1 in conference play four times in the last 19 seasons.
UTAH ON DECK -- USC’s next game will at Utah on Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. (PT). Utah (10-4, 1-1) has six players averaging in double figures, including forward David Collette (15.0 ppg) and guard Sedrick Barefield (13.3 ppg) who became eligible following the first semester. Utah is coming off a 66-56 loss at Arizona on Jan. 5 and will play at ASU on Jan. 7 before hosting the Trojans. Utah leads the all-time series with USC 21-17 and beat the Trojans 80-69 at the Galen Center in the only regular season meeting last year, then again 80-72 in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. Utah has won seven consecutive games against the Trojans.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of nine Division I schools (out of 351) which has one loss or less through games of Jan. 5. There are two remaining undefeated team this season: Baylor (14-0) and Gonzaga (15-0).
SWIPERBOYZ -- USC once had Renaldo Woolridge (2013) aka “Swiperboy” on its team, but now features a pair of “Swiperboyz” in freshmen De’Anthony Melton and Jonah Mathews. Melton (28) and Mathews (20) have combined for 48 steals or an average of 3.0 per game. The pair are tied for first and tied for 10th respectively among Pac-12 players in steals. The original Swiperboy was not only a basketball player, but a talented singer/songwriter and just released a new cut Cali Girl on soundcloud on Dec. 17, 2016. It will also be released on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify on Jan. 12 and will premier on Power 106 soon.
A DEVELOPING ADVANTAGE -- USC is 9-0 at home this season and dating back to the final game of the 2014-15 season, has won 26 of its last 28 games played at the Galen Center.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 14.1 points 3.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He is also making 50.7 percent of his shots (76-for-150), including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 81 assists and second with a 2.4 assist to turnover ratio through games on Jan. 5. In the last nine games, he has averaged 17.2 points (155 total), 4.2 rebounds (38 total) and 5.1 assists (46 total), while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor (50-for-97). McLaughlin has 341 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 35 of last 37 free throw attempts (94.6 percent).
SULTANS OF SWAT -- USC set a school record for blocks in a game with 14 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 and has recorded 58 blocks in the last eight games (7.3 per game). For the season, USC is averaging 6.4 blocks per game which ranks tied for 8th 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 16 games: Metu (30), Stewart (22), Melton (18) 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 41.9 points (671 total) after halftime this season. USC’s opponents have averaged 37.5 points (600 total) in the second half against the Trojans. USC won or tied in second-half scoring in 12 of its 16 games this season.
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and six are averaging at least 9.7 points per game.
ACCEPTING CHARITY -- USC is making 74.5 percent of its free throws this season. It the last seven games they have made 80.0 percent (124-for-155). USC as a team has not finished a season shooting over 70 percent from the charity stripe since hitting 71.5 percent of its free throws in the 2007 season. In the last 30 seasons, USC has shot over 70 percent from the free throw line only twice.