USC Hosts No. 11/10 Utah At Galen Sunday|
Jan. 31, 2015
The USC Trojans (9-11, 1-7) will host the Utah Runnin' Utes (16-4, 6-2) at the Galen Center on Feb. 1 at 11:30 a.m. The game will air on ESPNU and AM 690. USC has lost seven of its last eight games, including a season-high five straight. Prior to this eight-game stretch, USC had not lost consecutive games this season.
BREAKING DOWN UTAH -- The Runnin' Utes are coming off 69-59 loss at UCLA on Jan. 29 to drop to 3-4 on the road this season. Utah defeated USC 79-55 on Jan. 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah and has won all five conference home games by more than 20 points. Utah has averaged 17.1 more points per game than its opponents. Senior guard Delon Wright leads Utah with a 14.6 scoring average. Utah leads the all-time series 18-17 and has won four straight against USC.
RECORDS & TROJANS FALL IN 3 OT TO COLORADO -- Katin Reinhardt (35) and Nikola Jovanovic (30) became the first pair of Trojans to score 30 or more points in the same game, but it was not enough to overcome Askia Booker's Galen Center-record 43 points in a 98-94 3OT loss to Colorado on Jan. 29. USC trailed by 11 points with 8 minutes left to go in regulation, but rallied to tie the game at 66-all with 44 seconds left on a layup by Jovanovic. USC led the entire first OT until a 3-pointer by Xavier Johnson tied it at 73-all. The Buffs had not had a FG since 10:13 left in regulation. USC built up a 5-point lead in the 2nd OT, but Booker was heating up, scoring 9 points in the frame and tying at 83-all it on a layup with 9 seconds left. Colorado took control in the 3rd OT and USC could not comeback. Reinhardt scored a career-high 35 points and his nine 3-point baskets tied the school record set by Anthony Pendleton on Dec. 9, 1987 and established a Galen Center record. Jovanovic's 30 points were also a career high. The game was the third-longest in school history, longest ever at the Galen Center and the longest USC game since winning in 4 OT at UCLA on Feb. 28, 1985. The combined 192 points scored were the most in a USC game since winning 107-92 vs. Bradley (199) on Nov. 17, 2000. The 98 points scored by Colorado were a new opponent record at Galen.
CALIFORNIA ON DECK -- USC's next game will be at California (12-9, 2-6 plus a game vs. Washington on Jan. 31) on Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. USC defeated California 71-57 on Jan. 7 for its only conference victory to date. California leads the all-time series 133-122 (reflects 1 win by USC in 2008 vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC is 2-6 in its last eight visits to Haas Pavilion, but four of the games have been decided by four points or less and seven games by 10 points or less. California ranks 11th among conference teams in scoring at 65.4 points per game, but Tyrone Wallace at 17.6 ppg and Jordan Mathews at 14.7 both rank among the Pac-12's top 10 scorers.
NIKOLA 2.O -- USC sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic from Serbia has been compared to former Trojan and NBA star Nikola Vucevic from Montenegro. To this point in Jovanovic's college career, it is a fair comparison. As a freshman Jovanovic played much more than Vucevic did and had better numbers. As sophomore starters, Vucevic averaged 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds, while Jovanovic is averaging 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
REINHARDT TIES SCHOOL 3-POINT RECORD -- USC guard Katin Reinhardt tied the school 3-point baskets made record of nine when he went 9-for-18 from long-range vs. Colorado on Jan. 29. Reinhardt tied the USC record held by Anthony Pendleton set vs. Long Beach State on Dec. 9, 1987. KR is starting to find his stroke from three-point range, going 19-for-39 (48.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the last five games. He began the season going 21-for-65 (32.3 percent) from three-point range. Reinhardt has made at least one three-pointer in nine consecutive games. Reinhardt is T-3rd in Pac-12 games with 2.9 makes per game from 3-point range.
SAY GOODBYE TO JANUARY, PLEASE... -- USC was 1-7 in January, after going 4-3 in November and 4-1 in December. USC is a combined 2-14 in January the last two seasons.
McLAUGHLIN BACK ON THE ATTACK -- Freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin returned to action on Jan. 11 vs. Stanford after leaving the game at Utah on Jan. 2 and missing two other games with an injured right shoulder. Despite the injury holding him to six points at Utah, he is averaging 13.1 points in his last 11 games (144 total) and is second among USC players this season with a 12.3 scoring average. He also has 51 assists, 34 rebounds and 16 steals in his last 11 games, while making 13 three-pointers.
PUTTING THE "FREE" IN FREE THROWS -- After struggling all season at the charity stripe, USC combined to make 78.7 percent (48-for-61) of its shots from the line in the three games at home from Jan. 7-14. USC made 17 of 20 free throws in the win vs. California on Jan. 7, then hit 19 of 24 vs. Stanford on Jan. 11 and 12 of 17 vs. UCLA on Jan. 14. USC had made only 58.8 percent of its free throws in the previous nine games (97-for-165). USC then posted its best effort from the line by going 16-for-18 (.889) at Oregon State on Jan. 23. USC has shot over 70 percent from the line in four of the last six games, after accomplishing the feat just once in the first 14 games. USC was 15-for-28 (.536) from the free throw line in the overtime loss to Army on Dec. 13 and 23-for-35 (.657) in the 3 OT loss to Colorado on Jan. 29. USC is shooting 65.2 percent from the free throw line this season.
GAINING EXPERIENCE -- Eleven of the 13 players to appear in a game for USC this season are either freshmen or sophomores. USC's freshmen and sophomores have logged 92.3 percent of the team's minutes. Despite Malik Martin (3+ games) and Jordan McLaughlin (2+ games) missing time due to injury, USC's four freshmen had combined to play 39.2 percent of USC's minutes this season.
THE DEFENSE RESTS -- USC has struggled defensively since Pac-12 play began, allowing opponents to shoot 46.3 percent against them (10th in the Pac-12), including 37.7 percent from three-point range (8th in conference). However, the Trojans maybe turning the tide as they held their last three opponents to a combined 40.8 percent (71-for-174). USC also held California to 35.4 percent shooting, including 20.0 percent from three-point range in the win on Jan. 7. Entering conference play, USC had held its opponents to 38.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 29.3 percent from three-point range. Still, USC has held 10 of 20 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 41.8 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.