USC Hosts Washington Saturday In Final Regular Season Game|
March 3, 2017
The USC Trojans (22-8, 9-8) will host the Washington Huskies (9-20, 2-15) at the Galen Center on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. The 2016-17 Trojans are the 10th USC team to win 22 or more games in school history and the first since 2009. USC's last 23-win season was in 2007 when the Trojans set the school record with 25 wins (25-12). Today is also Senior Day with USC senior players Samer Dhillon and Charles Buggs and manager Silas Gaines being honored prior to tip-off. Fans can still purchase tickets to the USC-Washington game by going to USCTrojans.com/tickets Click Here.
BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON -- Washington is coming off a 98-66 loss at UCLA on March 1 and has lost 11 consecutive games since winning in overtime vs. Coloardo on Jan. 18. 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.
USC TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS AGAINST WSU -- USC scored the first basket of the game and never trailed in an 87-64 win vs. Washington State at the Galen Center on March 1. USC jumped out to a 22-7 lead seven minutes into the game and was never truly challenged. USC led 48-28 at halftime and never led by less than 20 points in the second half. Jordan McLaughlin just missed out on the second triple-double in school history, with 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Chimezie Metu added 15 points and 9 rebounds. USC made 53.0 percent of its shots, while holding WSU to 43.9 percent. USC had 25 assists and only eight turnovers and outscored the Cougars 22-6 on points off turnovers. All nine Trojans who played more than two minutes made at least 50 percent of their shots. USC outrebounded WSU 34-27 and outscored them 42-32 on points in the paint.
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT ON DECK -- USC's next game will be in the Pac-12 Tournament against this same Washington team on March 8 at 8:30 p.m. This is the first season the tournament will be played at new T-Mobile Arena. The winner of USC-Washington will play the No. 3 seed (UCLA or Arizona) on March 9 at 8:30 p.m. USC is 14-16 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament, which reflects one Trojan win vacated due to NCAA penalty. Last year, USC defeated UCLA 95-71 in the first round, before falling 80-72 to Utah in the quarterfinals. USC won the 2009 conference tournament held at Staples Center, led by tournament MVP DeMar DeRozan.
TOURNAMENT TALK - USC is 22-8 and teams which it has beaten this season have 21 wins over projected NCAA Tournament teams as of March 2. Included in the 21 wins are victories over No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Arizona, No. 18 Cincinatti, Michigan and Xavier. In addition to that, USC has victories itself over No. 3 UCLA and No. 14 SMU.
WINNING OVER THE WINNERS -- USC has already played seven games against teams ranking in the top 7 in the country (11 total teams) in terms of winning percentage (Oregon-2, UCLA-2, Arizona-2, SMU--1). USC is one of five teams in the country with two or more wins over this group: Butler (4), Gonzaga (3), USC (2), Oregon (2), UCLA (2).
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).
MESHING QUICKLY -- USC entered the 2016-17 season with only four scholarship players which had played for the Trojans before this season and then one of those, Bennie Boatwright, missed 17 of the first 22 games. Still, USC won its first 14 games and if it would win today will have posted 10 conference wins for the first times since 2011 (10-8).
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC's roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 64.7 percent of the minutes played this season (3897 of 6025 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores.
MR. BUCKETS BACK IN ACTION -- Sophomore forward Bennie "Bennie Buckets" Boatwright tied his career high with 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 then scored 16 points vs. Oregon State on Feb. 9 in his first game at the Galen Center since Nov. 27. 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 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13 games, 12 starts. He scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds at UCLA on Feb. 18 for his second career double-double. He matched his career high with 23 points at Arizona, then added 22 at ASU on Feb. 26. In his last four games he has averaged 19.8 points (79 total). He has made 34 consecutive free throws. The USC record for consecutive makes from the charity stripe is 41 by David Bluthenthal over 9 games in 2000-01. Bluthenthal also holds the record of 42 straight FT makes in Pac-12 play by a Trojan over 14 games in 2000-01.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 12.7 points 3.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He ranks second among Pac-12 players with 160 assists and is fifth with a 2.3 assist to turnover ratio through games on March 2. McLaughlin has 420 career assists which ranks second on USC's all-time assists list. He has a tall order to graduate as USC's all-time assist leader, though, as Brandon Granville holds the school record with 779 career assist. 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 84.7 percent (61 of 72) of his free throws in the last 21-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 128 career steals, ninth on USC's all-time list in steals by a Trojan. Sam Clancy is eighth on the list with 134 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 5.5 blocks per game which ranks 10th in the country. USC has 166 blocks as a team and four different Trojans have at least 22 or more blocks: Metu (46), Stewart (36), Melton (33) and Rakocevic (22). USC set the school record with 182 blocks last season.
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and seven are averaging at least 7.4 points per game.
TROJAN MEN OF STEAL -- USC has six games of 10 or more steals this season, its 208 steals and its 6.9 steals per game lead the Pac-12. De'Anthony Melton's 57 steals are the third-most in the conference and eighth nationally among all freshmen.
TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE -- USC has committed 11.3 turnovers per game which ranks 32nd in the country. USC has committed 338 turnovers compared to its opponent's 377 and enjoys a 482-363 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 17-1 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.
COMEBACK KIDS -- USC rallied back from an 11-point first-half deficit at WSU on Feb. 4, a 10-point halftime deficit (37-27) at Washington on Feb. 1 and from a 20-10 first-half deficit vs. UCLA on Jan. 25 and has 11 comebacks this season from a deficit of nine points or more to win.
THE FOUL LINE CAN BE YOUR FRIEND -- USC is making 73.6 percent of its free throws this season, despite being only 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) in the 74-73 loss vs. California on Jan. 8 and 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) in the loss at Utah on Jan. 12. USC as a team has not finished a season shooting over 70 percent from the charity stripe since hitting 71.5 percent of its free throws in the 2007 season. In the last 30 seasons, USC has shot over 70 percent from the free throw line only twice. Bennie Boatwright has made his last 34 free throw attempts.