USC Seeks Rare Conference Road Sweep At Washington State|
Feb. 2, 2017
The USC Trojans (19-4, 6-4) will play at the Washington State Cougars (11-11, 4-6) at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. on Feb. 4 at 5:00 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 19-4 start is its best since the 1992 team also went 19-4. USC has won consecutive Pac-12 road games for the first time since Jan. 30, 2013 at UCLA (OT) and Feb. 14, 2013 at Stanford and is seeking its first conference road trip sweep since winning at California and at Stanford on Feb.17 and 19, 2011. USC last won at Washington and at Washington State in the same season during the 2002 campaign. Fans can purchase tickets to USC games by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets Click Here
BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON STATE -- The Cougars are coming off a 95-79 home loss to UCLA on Feb. 1, despite making 50.8 percent of its shots and 47.6 percent from three-point range. WSU is led by senior forward Josh Hawkinson who is averaging 16.0 points and 9.8 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.
USC RALLIES FOR WIN AT WASHINGTON -- Bennie Boatwright matched a career high with 23 points to rally USC back from a 10-point halftime deficit to an 82-74 win at Washington on Feb. 1. Washington scored the final 15 points of the first half to lead 37-27 at the break, but USC shot 68.0 percent in the second half to secure the comeback win, outscoring Washington 55-37 after halftime. Boatwright, playing for the first time since injuring his left knee on Nov. 30 at San Diego, made 4 of 5 shots and all 6 free throw attempts in the second half to key the comeback. De'Anthony Melton matched his career best with 16 points and added 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks. Jordan McLaughlin scored all 13 of his points in the second half and Chimezie Metu netted 13 of his 15 points after the break. USC used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to take the lead and made 8 of 12 free throws down the stretch to secure the win. USC outscored Washington 26-1 in bench points.
OREGON STATE ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. Oregon State (4-18, 0-9) on Feb. 4 at 5:00 p.m. Oregon State will host Arizona on Feb. 2 and Arizona State on Feb. 4 before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Trojans. USC won 70-63 at Oregon State on Dec. 28. USC leads the all-time series against Oregon State 69-63 which reflects two USC wins vacated due to NCAA penalty.
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's had 21 assists in his last three games and has 381 career assists which ranks sixth on USC's all-time list, eight behind Jacque Hill who had 389. His 121 assists this season rank 27th nationally. He also had four steals last game to give him 121 career steals and move into 10th all-time in steals by a Trojan, four behind Maurice Jones who is ninth on the list with 125 career steals.
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 now has 154 in his career. He ranks ninth on USC's all-time list for three-pointers made as a Trojan, two behind Phil Glenn who is eighth with 156.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 29 Division I schools (out of 351) which has four losses or less through games of Feb. 1 and its .826 winning percentage is tied for 19th best in the country. USC's is tied for 14th in the country in wins with 19.
TROJAN MEN OF STEAL -- USC has 26 steals in the its last two games and has six games of 10 or more steals this season. USC's 171 steals lead the Pac-12 and rank 45th in the country. Leading the way is De'Anthony Melton with 46 steals which leads the conference, ranks tied for 33rd nationally and fifth among all freshmen.
MR. BUCKETS GOES TO WASHINGTON -- Sophomore forward Bennie "Bennie Buckets" Boatwright scored 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting in his return to action at Washington on Feb. 1. He had missed USC's previous 15 games 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 is averaging 12.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in six games, five starts.
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 46.7 percent of his shots, including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 121 assists and is third with a 2.3 assist to turnover ratio through games on Feb. 1. In the last 16 games, he has averaged 15.5 points (248 total), 3.4 rebounds (55 total) and 5.4 assists (86 total). McLaughlin has 381 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 86.4 percent (51 of 59) of his free throws in the last 14-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 5.8 blocks per game which ranks 12th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 15 blocks : Metu (39), Stewart (29), Melton (29) and Rakocevic (15).
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and six are averaging at least 9.0 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 then matched that with seven makes from long range against ASU on Ja. 22 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. He now has at least one three-point basket in 27 of his last 30 games. His career total of 154 three-pointers made is ninth on USC's all-time list, two behind Phil Glenn who is eighth with 156. Stewart is second among the Trojans in scoring at a 13.7 points per game and leads USC with 57 three-point baskets, while ranking tied for second in blocks (29) and third in rebounds (112). He has also scored in double figures in 16 of 23 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 29 blocks this season and 92 in his career which is 11th on USC's all-time blocked shots list, one behind of Chimezie Metu and three behind Nikola Vucevic who is ninth on USC's career blocks list with 95.
METU MOUNTAIN -- 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. 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. For the season he is averaging 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds and leads the team with 39 blocks and 42 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 21 steals. Metu has at least one dunk in 20 of USC's 23 games. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 18 of the 23 games this season.
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, tied for second in blocks, third in free throws made, fourth in minutes and 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. He matched his career high with 16 points at Washington on Feb. 1 and added seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a career-high six steals. He leads Pac-12 players with 46 steals, which ranks 7th on USC's all-time freshman steals list. He has at least two steals in 13 of 23 games. Melton is averaging 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 84 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.
MATHEWS CRACKS THE STARTING LINEUP -- Freshman guard Jonah Mathews made his first career start vs. ASU on Jan. 22 and netted 14 points and had three steals. He also started the last game vs. UCLA on Jan. 25. 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 9.5 points (105 total) in the last 11 games and is tied third on the team this season with 29 three-point baskets made.
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 (2948 of 4625 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 327th in the country in terms of game experience.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held the opposition to 71.5 points per game and to a .415 shooting percentage. USC has held 12 of its opponents to under 40 percent shooting. Utah (55.2 percent) and ASU (50.9 percent) are the only teams to shoot over 50 percent against USC this season. USC has also only had four games in which it has had more fouls than its opponent (23-22 vs. SMU, 22-17 vs. Wyoming, 20-16 at Oregon & 12-10 vs. ASU).
TURNOVERS CAN BE A GOOD THING -- USC has commited 11.2 turnovers per game which ranks tied for 27th in the country. USC has committed 258 turnovers compared to its opponent's 304 and enjoys a 379-263 advantage on points off of turnovers. USC has committed more turnovers than its opponent seven 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 new high of 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.