USC Returns Home To Face No. 14/No. 13 Arizona At Galen|
Jan. 17, 2017
The USC Trojans (16-3, 3-3) will host the No. 14/No. 13 Arizona Wildcats (16-2, 5-0) at the Galen Center on Jan. 19 at 6:00 p.m. USC began the season 14-0. The 14 consecutive wins tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in school history and was the best USC start since the 1971 season. USC’s 16-3 start is its best since the 1992 team also went 16-3 (17-3 through 20 games). Fans can purchase tickets to USC games by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets or by Clicking Here. The game vs. UCLA on Jan. 25 is already sold out.
BREAKING DOWN ARIZONA -- Arizona is coming off a 91-75 home win over Arizona State on Jan. 12. Arizona has five players averaging at least 10 points per game, led by freshman forward Lauri Markkanen who is averaging 16.7 points per game. USC split the 2015-16 season series with Arizona, winning 103-101 in 4OT at home and falling 86-78 in Arizona. USC trails 41-63 in the all-time series with Arizona, with both teams having a win vacated due to NCAA penalty. USC has won five of its last seven home games against Arizona. Arizona has won its last 10 games and its only two losses were against current top 15 teams Butler and Gonzaga.
LAST SEASON’S INSTANT CLASSIC -- After four overtimes, 12 ties and nine lead changes, USC defeated No. 7 Arizona 103-101 at the Galen Center on Jan. 9, 2016. Elijah Stewart tied his then career high of 27 points when he hit a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left in the fourth overtime to secure the victory, USC’s first over a top 10 opponent since the 2011 season. Arizona led by eight points early and USC by 12 points late in regulation, but the game wasn’t decided until the 60th minute was played. It was the first 4OT game in Arizona history and the third for the Trojans, first since an 80-78 win at UCLA in 1985.
METU LEADS TROJANS TO WIN AT COLORADO -- Chimezie Metu hit a jump hook from 10-feet away just outside the paint on the left side to give USC the lead with 29 seconds remaining and the Trojans went on to defeat Colorado 71-68 in Boulder, Colo. on Jan. 15. Elijah Stewart added a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining and George King’s three-pointer just before the buzzer glanced off the rim and the Trojans had their first win in Colorado since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2012. USC led 67-60 with 2:45 remaining, but Colorado scored the next eight points and took the lead on a three-pointer by Xavier Johnson which just beat the shot clock with 47 seconds remaining, setting up Metu’s heroics. Metu scored 20 of his career-high 24 points in the first half and finished 11 of 14 in shooting. USC trailed by 11 points at 22-11, but cut the deficit to 35-34 at halftime. USC’s comeback was its eight from a deficit of nine or more points this season. Colorado entered the game last in conference play in three-point shooting percent, but made 7 of 11 attempts in the first half and finished 11 of 24 (45.8 percent). USC forced 17 turnovers which led to a 20-5 advantage on points off turnovers. USC outscored Colorado 36-22 on points in the paint.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- USC’s next game will at home vs. Arizona State (9-9, 2-3) on Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. ASU will play at UCLA on Jan. 19 before facing USC. The Sun Devils average 81.2 points per game and feature four double-figure scorers led by senior guard Torian Graham at 18.2 per game. USC leads the all-time series with ASU 52-39 which reflects two USC wins vacated due to NCAA penalty. USC and ASU split the 2015-16 season series with each team winning at home.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 29 Division I schools (out of 351) which has three losses or less through games of Jan. 16 and its .842 winning percentage is tied for 19th best in the country.
GLAD TO BE AT GALEN -- USC is happy to return home where it is 9-1 this season and dating back to the final game of the 2014-15 season, has won 26 of its last 29 games at the Galen Center. Since Dec. 20, USC has played two home games and six road or neutral site games. Five of USC’s next seven games will be at home.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 13.9 points 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He is also making 47.8 percent of his shots, including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 92 assists and with a 2.4 assist to turnover ratio through games on Jan. 16. In the last 12 games, he has averaged 16.1 points (193 total), 3.5 rebounds (42 total) and 4.8 assists (57 total). McLaughlin has 352 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. McLaughlin went 3-for-8 from the free throw line in the 74-73 loss to California on Jan. 8 after entering the game having made 35 of previous 37 free throw attempts (94.6 percent). Still, he has made 85.7 percent (42 of 49) of his free throws in the last 10-plus games.
SULTANS OF SWAT -- USC set a school record for blocks in a game with 14 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11, but did not record a block at Colorado on Jan. 15, its first game without a block since Jan. 19, 2012 at Oregon (snapping a streak of 161 consecutive games with at least one block). For the season, USC is averaging 5.7 blocks per game which ranks 16th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 15 blocks : Metu (33), Stewart (22), Melton (21) and Rakocevic (15).
LIGHT ON THE LONG BALL LATELY -- In the last three games, USC has made 16 three-point baskets while the opposition has connected on 29 shots from beyond the arc. USC is shooting 34.0 percent (16-for-47) while its opponents are making 45.3 percent (29-for-64) from three-point range the last three games. In the first half of the last three games, USC’s opponent have made 48.4 percent (15-for-31) of its long balls, while the Trojans have hit 20.0 percent (5-for-25).
TURNOVERS CAN BE A GOOD THING -- USC has commited 11.2 turnovers per game which ranks tied for 26th in the country. USC has committed 212 turnovers compared to its opponent’s 245 and enjoys a 305-210 advantage on points off of turnovers. USC has committed more turnovers than its opponent six times this season. USC forced Colorado into 17 turnovers on Jan. 15 which led to a 20-5 advantage on points off turnovers. USC had a season-high 17 turnovers which lead to 23 points in its 84-61 loss at Oregon on Dec. 30 and followed it up with a season-high 18 turnovers in the win vs. Stanford on Jan. 5. Prior to those two games, USC ranked 11th In the country with 10.5 turnovers per game.
FOUL SHOTS AT THE LINE -- USC is making 71.9 percent of its free throws this season, but was only 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) in the 74-73 loss vs. California on Jan. 8 and 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) in the loss at Utah on Jan. 12. It the previous seven games they 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.
METU MOUNTAIN BECOMING A VOLCANO -- Sophomore Chimezie Metu scored a career-high 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting at Colorado on Jan. 15, including making the go-ahead basket with 29 seconds remaining. In the last three games he has totaled 61 points for an average of 20.3 points per game while making 66.7 percent of his shots (26 of 39). He scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds vs. Stanford on Jan. 5 for his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career. He scored a then season-high 20 points vs. California on Jan. 8 and in the last 14 games he has averaged 15.3 points (214 total) and 7.9 rebounds (110 total). For the season he is averaging 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds and leads the team with 33 blocks and 34 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 17 steals. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 15 of the 19 games this season.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC’s roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 63.7 percent of the minutes played this season (2436 of 3825 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 327th in the country in terms of game experience.