USC Opens Final Homestand Hosting Washington State Wednesday|
Feb. 28, 2017
The USC Trojans (21-8, 8-8) will host the Washington State Cougars (13-15, 6-10) at the Galen Center on March 1 at 7 p.m. The 2016-17 Trojans are the 15th USC team to win 21 or more games in school history. USC has lost four consecutive games for the first time this season, falling to then No. 5 Oregon, at then No. 6 UCLA, at then No. 4 Arizona and at Arizona State. Fans can purchase tickets to USC games by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets or Click Here
BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON STATE -- Washington State is coming off a 79-71 home win vs. Washington on Feb. 26 to complete the season sweep against its rival. Senior forward Josh Hawkinson leads the Cougars in scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double of 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. USC defeated Washington State 86-77 in Pullman, Wash. on Feb. 4. USC has won its last three games against Washington State and leads the all-time series 72-48.
USC LETS ONE GET AWAY AT ASU -- USC was outscored 12-1 in the final 2:32 of the game and fell 83-82 at Arizona State on Feb. 26. USC led 81-71 after Chimezie Metu dunked with 3:55 remaining which turned out to be the Trojans’ final field goal of the game. USC would go 0-for-4 with three fouls and two turnovers, while making 1 of 3 free throws, including missing the front end of a 1-and-1 to close out the game. USC still led by six before Tra Holder made a layup to cut it to 82-78 with 28 seconds to go. Elijah Stewart missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Kodi Justice hit a contested fall-away 3-pointer to make it 82-81 USC with 14.1 seconds left. USC’s inbounds pass was stolen and Holder was fouled in the lane with 7 seconds left. He made both FTs to give ASU the 83-82 lead. USC was able to free Bennie Boatwright for an open 3-pointer, but it rimmed out and the Trojans suffered the heart-breaking road loss. Boatwright led USC with 22 points and Metu had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. USC made 56.4 percent of its shot and 42.9 percent of its 3-pointers. ASU shot 46.2 percent, including 46.4 percent from 3-point range. USC was outscored 27-11 on points off turnovers.
WASHINGTON ON DECK -- USC’s final regular season game will be against Washington (9-19, 2-14) at the Galen Center on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. Washington will play at UCLA on March 1 before facing the Trojans. The Huskies are led by freshman and Pac-12 leading scorer Markelle Fultz who is averaging 23.2 points, nearly five points more than the conference’s second-leading scorer. USC won 82-74 at Washington on Feb. 1 and trails 71-70 in the all-time series, which reflects two USC wins vacated due to NCAA penalty.
GRUELING GAUNTLET -- By facing then No. 4 Arizona on Feb. 23, USC became the only team in the country to have faced top 6 teams in three consecutive games this season (then No. 5 Oregon on Feb. 11, then No. 6 UCLA on Feb. 18). USC is also the only school to face those teams twice this season. Only three other teams (Georgia Tech, Texas & Texas Tech) have even faced top 10 teams in three consecutive games and only 13 others have played two top 10 teams in consecutive games. USC has already played seven games against teams ranking in the top 10 in the country in terms of winning percentage (Oregon-2, UCLA-2, Arizona-2, SMU--1). MELTON’S FAB FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN – The Pac-12 has some of the top freshmen in the country this season and De’Anthony Melton is one of the best in the conference. He is one of two freshmen (Markelle Fultz of Washington) to rank among the top five Pac-12 freshmen this season in rebounding (5th), steals (2nd), blocks (4th) and assists (5th). He is 12th in scoring at 9.3 points per game and is also among the Pac-12 freshmen top 10 in field goal percentage (min. 100 attempts) and free throw percentage (minimun of 50 attempts).
ROAD TRIP DOESN’T ADD UP -- USC outshot both of its opponents on the road trip to Arizona, making a combined 54.7 percent of its shots, but lost both. The losses meant USC fell to 17-3 when outshooting its opponent. USC made 56.4 percent of its shots in the loss at Arizona State on Feb. 26, its highest shooting percentage in a loss since making 61.1 percent and falling 94-79 at St. Louis on Dec. 19, 1992. USC also led by a point at halftime at ASU and fell to 17-1 in games this season it has led at halftime and 18-2 when leading with 5 minutes remaining.
TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE -- USC has committed 11.4 turnovers per game which ranks 32nd in the country. USC has committed 330 turnovers compared to its opponent’s 363 and enjoys a 460-357 advantage on points off of turnovers. USC has committed more turnovers than its opponent 10 times this season. USC is 5-7 in games it has as many or more turnovers as its opponent and 16-1 in games it has less turnovers. USC had 14 turnovers which led to Arizona’s 23-9 advantage on points off turnovers on Feb. 23 and 12 turnovers which led to an ASU advantage of 27-11 on points off turnovers on Feb. 26...USC had averaged 5 more points per game than its opponent on turnovers before those two games. USC had a season-high 17 turnovers which led 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. USC also had 16 turnovers vs. Oregon on Feb. 11.
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 5.5 blocks per game which ranks 142th in the country. Four different Trojans have at least 21 blocks: Metu (43), Stewart (34), Melton (33) and Rakocevic (21).
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and seven are averaging at least 7.2 points per game.
TROJAN MEN OF STEAL -- USC has six games of 10 or more steals this season, its 199 steals are tied for the conference lead and its 6.9 steals per game lead the Pac-12. De’Anthony Melton’s 53 steals are the third-most in the conference and eighth 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 Jan. 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 32 of his last 356 games. His career total of 162 three-pointers made is eighth on USC’s all-time list, one behind Elias Ayuso who is seventh with 163. Stewart is third among the Trojans in scoring at a 13.1 points per game and leads USC with 65 three-point baskets, while ranking second in blocks (34) and third in rebounds (127). He has also scored in double figures in 20 of 29 games this season, with a high of 30 points. Stewart’s 2.2 made three-pointers per game are tied for sixth among all Pac-12 players. Stewart also has 34 blocks this season and 97 in his career which is ninth on USC’s all-time blocked shots list, tied with Chimezie Metu. Avondre Jones is eighth on the list with 101 career blocks as a Trojan.
METU BECOMING A FORCE -- 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. He notched his fifth double-double of the season and sixth of his career with 15 points and 12 rebounds at Arizona on Feb. 23. He is averaging 15.2 points in Pac-12 play and for the season he is averaging 14.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. He also leads the team with 43 blocks and 64 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 25 steals. Metu has at least one dunk in 26 of USC’s 29 games. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 23 of the 29 games this season.