USC To Face Washington On The Road Wednesday|
Jan. 30, 2017
The USC Trojans (18-4, 5-4) will play at the Washington Huskies (9-12, 2-7) at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Wash. on Feb. 1 at 8:00 p.m. USC began the season 14-0 which ranks tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in school history and was the best USC start since the 1971 season. USC’s 18-4 start is its best since the 1992 team also went 18-4. Fans can purchase tickets to any USC home game by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets.
BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON -- Washington is coming off a 77-66 loss at Arizona on Jan. 29 and has lost three straight. Washington is led by freshman guard Markelle Fultz who leads the conference with a 23.3 scoring average. Washington leads the all-time series 71-69, which reflects two wins vacated by USC due to NCAA penalty. The teams split the season series last year with both team winning their home games. USC has lost its last four games at Washington.
USC TAKES DOWN No. 8 UCLA -- Shaqquan Aaron scored a career-high 23 points off the bench, and USC matched its season best with 14 three-pointers in an 84-76 win over UCLA at the Galen Center on Jan. 25. Elijah Stewart added 15 points for the Trojans who beat their crosstown rivals for the fourth consecutive time, their longest streak since 2009-11. UCLA scored the first eight points and then led 20-10 before USC closed the half on a 40-18 run to take a 50-38 lead at halftime. USC built the lead to 15 points in the second half, but the Bruins rallied to get within 4 points twice, the last time at 66-62 with 6:02 remaining. USC responded with a pair of dunks, first by Stewart and then Chimezie Metu, who had 4 in the game, and Metu added a free throw to make it a 9-point advantage and UCLA got no closer than 6 points the rest of the way. USC slowed down UCLA’s fastbreak and kept the Bruins to 16 points below their season average. The Trojans forced 17 UCLA turnovers, while USC turned the ball over just 9 times which helped offset UCLA’s 48.4 to 40.3 shooting percentage advantage in the game.
WASHINGTON STATE ON DECK -- USC’s next game will be at Washington State (11-10, 4-5) on Feb. 4 at 5:00 p.m. The Cougars are coming off a 91-83 win at ASU on Jan. 29 and will host UCLA on Feb. 1 before facing USC. WSU is led by senior forward Josh Hawkinson who is averaging a double-double with 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. USC swept the 2016 season series, winning 90-77 at WSU and 81-71 at home. USC leads the all-time series 71-48.
J-MAC ATTACKING THE CHARTS -- Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin scored his 1,000th career point with his last basket vs. Arizona on Jan. 19 to become the 37th Trojan to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He had eight assists in each of the last two games and has 376 career assists which ranks sixth on USC’s all-time list, 13 behind Jacque Hill who had 389. He also has 117 career steals which is two thefts away from cracking USC’s all-time top 10 in that category.
STEWART SHOOTING UP THE 3-POINT CHARTS -- Junior guard Elijah Stewart tied a career high with seven three-point baskets against Arizona State on Jan. 22 and added four against UCLA on Jan. 25 to give him 153 in his career. He now ranks ninth on USC’s all-time list for three-pointers made as a Trojan, three behind Phil Glenn who is eighth with 156.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 32 Division I schools (out of 351) which has four losses or less through games of Jan. 29 and its .818 winning percentage is tied for 19th best in the country. USC’s is tied for 15th in the country in wins with 18.
AARON NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- USC redshirt sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron was named the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 23-29. It was the first conference weekly honor for Aaron, who joins teammate Jordan McLaughlin (Dec. 26) as winners this season. Aaron came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points in 26 minutes of action in USC’s 84-76 win over crosstown rival No. 8/No. 7 UCLA at the Galen Center on Jan. 25. Aaron made 7 of 8 free throws and four of USC’s season-high tying 14 three-point baskets. The 6-7 guard is averaging 9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and is tied for third on the team with 28 three-pointers made this season. Aaron has scored in double figures seven times this season.
MR. BUCKETS GOES TO WASHINGTON -- Sophomore forward Bennie “Bennie Buckets” Boatwright is on the trip to Washington and may see action on this trip or the next homestand for the first time since suffering a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament in his left knee three minutes into the game at San Diego on Nov. 30. The Trojan co-captain, who is averaging 10.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in five games, did not make USC’s last road trip.
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 5.3 assists. He is also making 46.8 percent of his shots, including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 116 assists and is second with a 2.4 assist to turnover ratio through games on Jan. 29. In the last 15 games, he has averaged 15.7 points (235 total), 3.4 rebounds (51 total) and 5.4 assists (81 total). McLaughlin has 376 career assists which ranks sixth on USC’s all-time assists list. Jacque Hill with 389 career assists ranks fifth on USC’s all-time list. 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 86.8 percent (46 of 53) of his free throws in the last 13-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). USC bounced back with eight blocks against Arizona on Jan. 19 and seven vs. ASU on Jan. 22. For the season, USC is averaging 5.9 blocks per game which ranks 13th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 15 blocks : Metu (37), Stewart (29), Melton (27) and Rakocevic (15).
MAGIC MELTON -- Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton has been a consistent “stat sheet stuffer” for the Trojans leading the team in steals, ranking second in rebounds and assists, third in blocks and free throws made, fourth in minutes and tied for fifth in scoring. He scored a career-high 16 points, had eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. Melton scored 13 points, had 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in the game vs. California on Jan. 8. In the win at Colorado on Jan. 15, he tied a career high with 9 rebounds and added 6 assists and 6 points. He leads Pac-12 players with 40 steals, which ranks 10th on USC’s all-time freshman steals list. He has at least two steals in 12 of 22 games. Melton is averaging 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 78 assists. He also ranks fifth in the conference with a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio. According to Draft Express, Melton is the only NCAA player to average at least 5 assists, 8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes played.
THESE FOES AIN’T FOOLS -- USC went 13-0 in nonconference play and nine of the 13 teams it played are .500 or better this season and 10 are in double figures in wins. When you add in the teams USC has faced in the Pac-12 so far, 16 of USC’s 22 opponents are currently .500 or better and 18 of the teams have at least 10 wins. The four teams which USC has lost to have a combined record of 69-17.
LONG BALL SHOWS UP LAST TWO GAMES -- USC tied a season high with 14 three-point baskets against Arizona State on Jan. 22 and UCLA on Jan. 25. The Trojans high for three-point baskets in the previous 11 games had been eight. In the previous four games, USC had made 23 three-point baskets while the opposition had connected on 39 shots from beyond the arc.
RAKOCEVIC CLEANS THE OFFENSIVE GLASS -- USC freshman forward Nick Rakocevic has 48 offensive rebounds this season, leading USC and 12th in the conference. His total is also third among Pac-12 freshman behind only Lauri Markkanen (52) and TJ Leaf (51).
CONSECUTIVE SUCCESS - USC is 18-4 this season and was 21-13 last season, the first back-to-back seasons of 18 or more wins since winning 20 or more games in the 2007 (25), 2008 (21) and 2009 (22) seasons.