USC Returns Home To Host Oregon State At The Galen Center Thursday|
Feb. 7, 2017
The USC Trojans (20-4, 7-4) will host the Oregon State Beavers (4-20, 0-11) at the Galen Center Feb. 9 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 20-4 start is its best since the 1992 team also went 20-4 and 21-4 through 25 games. This year's team is the 20th USC squad to reach the 20-win plateau in school history. USC has won four consecutive conference games for the first time since 2013 and hasn't won five consecutive regular season Pac-12 games in one season since 2002. USC's four-game winning streak is currently tied for the longest active winning streak in the Pac-12. Fans can purchase tickets to USC games by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets Click Here
BREAKING DOWN OREGON STATE -- Oregon State is coming off an 81-68 home loss against Arizona State on Feb. 4, extending its losing streak to 11 games. OSU's leading scorer Tres Tinkle (20.2 ppg) has been out since breaking his wrist on Nov. 25, still the Beavers have three double-figure scorers in Stephen Thompson Jr. (16.9 ppg), Drew Eubanks (15.1 ppg) and JaQuori McLaughlin (11.1 ppg). USC opened conference play with a 70-63 win at Oregon State on Dec. 29. USC leads the all-time series against Oregon State 69-63 which reflects two USC wins vacated due to NCAA penalty.
USC COMPLETES ROAD SWEEP AT WSU -- USC rallied from an early 11-point deficit behind a career-high 29 points from Chimezie Metu to win 86-77 at Washington State on Feb. 4. USC trailed 14-3 four minutes into the game, then went on an 18-6 run to take the lead for the first time at 21-20 with 9:34 remaining before the break. USC built the lead to 10 early in the second half, but WSU rallied to take a 59-57 lead with 10 minutes remaining. USC responded with a 10-0 run to take the game back. First Jonah Mathews and Bennie Boatwright hit three-pointers, then Boatwright and Metu made layups to make it 67-59 with 8:10 to play and the Cougars never really challenged again. Mathews finished with 18 points and Boatwright and Elijah Stewart added 13. Metu got his 29 points on 12 of 14 shooting, including six dunks, while grabbing nine rebounds. USC made 73.9 percent of its second-half shots (17 of 23) and finished making a season-high 57.1 percent in the game. Everyone who played for USC had at least one assist for the first time since all seven Trojans had an assist vs. ASU on Feb. 2, 2008.
DOING ROAD WORK -- USC's wins at Washington (82-79) and at Washington State (86-77) was the first road sweep at Washington since 2002. It was also USC's first conference road sweep of any kind since the 2011 season at the Bay Area. USC ran its Pac-12 road winning streak to three games, its longest since four straight in 2008.
OREGON ON DECK -- USC's next game will be vs. Oregon (21-3, 10-1) on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Oregon will play at UCLA on Feb. 9 before facing the Trojans. Oregon is led in scoring by Dillon Brooks (14.4 ppg), Tyler Dorsey (12.6 ppg) and Chris Boucher (12.4 ppg). USC lost 84-61 at Oregon on Dec. 30 to run its losing streak against the Ducks to 13 games. USC has lost six consecutive games to Oregon in Los Angeles since last winning 80-66 at the Galen Center in 2009. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon 60-55, which includes two wins vacated dute to NCAA penalty.
STILL IN RARIFIED AIR -- USC is one of 23 Division I schools (out of 351) which has four losses or less through games of Feb. 6 and its .833 winning percentage is tied for 16th best in the country. USC's is tied for 14th in the country in wins with 20.
THESE FOES AIN'T FOOLS -- USC is the only team in the country scheduled to play two games against No. 5 Oregon (21-3), No. 9 Arizona (21-3) and No. 10 UCLA (21-3). All three teams are tied for the sixth-best record in NCAA men's basketball. USC went 13-0 in nonconference play and eight 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, 15 of USC's 24 opponents are currently .500 or better and nine of the teams have at least 15 wins. The four teams which USC has lost to have a combined record of 74-20.
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 and added 13 at Washington State on Feb. 4. 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 12.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in seven games, six starts. Boatwright last played a home game on Nov. 27 vs. UCSB.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 13.5 points 3.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He is also making 46.0 percent of his shots, including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 125 assists and is fifth with a 2.3 assist to turnover ratio through games on Feb. 6. In the last 17 games, he has averaged 14.8 points (252 total), 3.4 rebounds (57 total) and 5.3 assists (90 total). McLaughlin has 385 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 86.9 percent (53 of 61) of his free throws in the last 15-plus games. 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 also has 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.
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 5.7 blocks per game which ranks 12th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 15 blocks : Metu (39), Stewart (31), Melton (30) and Rakocevic (15).
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and seven are averaging at least 7.7 points per game.
TROJAN MEN OF STEAL -- USC has 28 steals in the its last three games and has six games of 10 or more steals this season. USC's 173 steals lead the Pac-12 and De'Anthony Melton's 46 steals are tied for the conference lead and tied for fifth nationally among all freshmen.
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 28 of his last 31 games. His career total of 155 three-pointers made is ninth on USC's all-time list, one behind Phil Glenn who is eighth with 156 and eight behind Elias Ayuso who is seventh with 163. Stewart is second among the Trojans in scoring at a 13.7 points per game and leads USC with 58 three-point baskets, while ranking second in blocks (31) and third in rebounds (116). He has also scored in double figures in 17 of 24 games this season, with a high of 30 points. Stewart's 2.4 made three-pointers per game are tied for fourth among all Pac-12 players. Stewart also has 31 blocks this season and 94 in his career which is 10th on USC's all-time blocked shots list, one ahead of Chimezie Metu and one behind Nikola Vucevic who is ninth on USC's career blocks list with 95.
METU MOUNTAIN -- Sophomore Chimezie Metu scored a career-high 29 points by making 12 of 14 shots in the win at Washington State on Feb. 4. His previous career high had been 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. For the season he is averaging a team-leading 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds and also leads the team with 39 blocks and 48 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 21 steals. Metu has at least one dunk in 21 of USC's 24 games. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 19 of the 24 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, third in blocks and 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 is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 46 steals, which ranks 7th on USC's all-time freshman steals list, one behind Ryan Francis (47). He has at least two steals in 13 of 24 games. His 30 blocks rank eighth on USC's all-time freshman list. Melton is averaging 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 87 assists. He also ranks sixth in the conference with a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio.
MATHEWS A STRONG CONTRIBUTOR AS STARTER OR OFF BENCH -- Freshman guard Jonah Mathews made his first career start vs. ASU on Jan. 22 and netted 14 points and had three steals. He scored 18 points off the bench at WSU on Feb. 4 and 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 10.3 points (123 total) in the last 12 games and is second on the team this season with 33 three-point baskets made. He also is third on the team with 29 steals.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC's roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 64.0 percent of the minutes played this season (3088 of 4825 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 327th in the country in terms of game experience.