USC Hosts West Alabama At Galen Thursday In Battle 4 Atlantis Game

    Freshman Nikola Jovanovic has averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in USC's last three games.

    Nov. 20, 2013

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    The USC Trojans (3-1) will host the West Alabama Tigers (1-1) at the Galen Center on Thursday, November 21 at 7 p.m. in the opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson and Don MacLean calling the action. USC is 3-0 during a four-game homestand in a 10 day stretch (Nov. 12-21). USC also began last season with a 3-1 record and the last time they began 4-1 was when it started the 2008 season with a 6-1 record. USC is attempting to win four consecutive home games for the first time since Nov. 24-Dec. 23, 2010 (CSUF, Texas, NAU & Lehigh).

    ABOUT WEST ALABAMA -- USC will be facing West Alabama (1-1) for the first time ever. West Alabama of the Division II Gulf South Conference was 10-16 last season and returns two starters and eight lettermen from that team. Mark Downey is in his first season as the head coach after three successful seasons at Charleston where his teams compiled a 60-28 record. West Alabama has won at Stillman (105-75), lost at Montevallo (85-67) and lost an exhibition game at UTEP (67-46). The Tigers' leading scorer is senior guard Sandy Underwood, a preseason All-GSC selection, who is averaging 28.5 point in their two official games.

    USC LEADS WIRE-TO-WIRE AGAINST CSUF -- Byron Wesley scored 22 points and USC never trailed in beating CS Fullerton 76-62 on Nov. 19 for its third straight win at home. Omar Oraby had 15 points, nine rebounds and matched a career high with six blocks, and Julian Jacobs added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Trailing by 24 points, the Titans rallied to score 14 in a row to pull to 57-47 midway through the second half. From there, the Trojans settled down as Pe'Shon Howard hit a key three-pointer to build the lead to 14 and the Trojans were never seriously challenged again. Howard finished with 11 points and five assists, one of four Trojans to score in double figures. It was USC's fifth straight game using 11 or more players.

    VILLANOVA ON DECK -- Villanova is 3-0 and will host Delaware on Nov. 22 before facing USC at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas on Nov. 28. Villanova already has wins over Lafayette (75-59), Mount Saint Mary's (90-59) and Towson (78-44). Senior guard James Bell has averaged 18.7 points and junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston 18.3 points through the Wildcats' first three games. Villanova head coach Jay Wright has 382 career wins.

    FRESHMEN DOING FINE -- USC's scholarship freshmen group of guards Julian Jacobs and Kahlil Dukes and forwards Nikola Jovanovic and Roschon Prince have combined to score 70 points in USC's last three games. Through USC's first four games, Jacobs leads the team will 18 assists and is third with 24 rebounds. Jovanovic is averaging 6.5 points, Jacobs 6.5, Dukes 4.0 and Prince 3.5.

    MUSTACHE MADNESS -- USC fans are encouraged to show off their mustaches at the USC-West Alabama game on Nov. 21 as part of the Movember global campaign to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. USC athletic teams became involved in Movember three years ago. For more information, visit and vist the USC Athletics Page to help USC's teams change the face of men's health.

    SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC had six dunks in the game vs. CSUF on Nov. 19 and now has out-slammed the opposition 14-4 through the first four game.

    BATTLE 4 THE GLASS -- USC outrebounded CSUF 38-35 on Nov. 19 and has won the battle on the boards in all four games this season. Through four games, USC has outrebounded the opposition 161-151.

    WESLEY THE ONE CONSTANT -- Since USC wing Byron Wesley arrived on campus as a freshman for the 2011-12 season, he has been the one constant on the team. He is the only remaining player from that recruiting class at USC and the only remaining scholarship player from that team. As a freshman he quietly ranked among the top Pac-12 freshmen in six different category averages: scoring (9.6), rebounds (5.1), defensive rebounds (4.2), assists (1.8), steals (0.8) and minutes (34.6). Last season as a sophomore, he ranked third on the team in scoring (10.2) and rebounding (4.3), second in minutes (31.9) and assists (61 total). He improved on his shooting and expanded his repertoire to include the three-point shot, making 17 in conference play and finishing one make away from qualifying to lead the conference in three-point shooting percentage at .486 (17-for-35). Wesley opened the 2013-14 season with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists at Utah State on Nov. 8 and then logged his first double-double with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds vs. CSUN on Nov. 12. He followed that up with a career-high 31 points vs. NAU on Nov. 15. The 31 points are a Galen Center record (O.J. Mayo had 32, but player participation was later vacated due to NCAA penalty). In the game on Nov. 19 vs. CSUF, Wesley led the Trojans with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Among Pac-12 players, he currently ranks sixth in scoring (21.0), tied for fifth in rebounding (9.0) and tied for fifth in minutes per game (34.2).

    ORABY, THE SULTAN OF SWAT -- Senior center Omar Oraby from Cairo, Egypt enters this season as lone remaining bigman that played significant minutes a year ago. Oraby played in all 32 games for USC, making four starts and averaging 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds while playing 14.6 minutes per game. His best game of the season was the final game of the 2012-13 season when he started and scored a career-high 18 points in a career-high 35 minutes. Oraby was seventh in conference in blocks with 47, which ranks ninth on USC's all-time single season list. He had one stretch where he registered at least one block in 14 consecutive games. He had USC's best points to minutes played ratio last season and if his stats were prorated over a 40 minute game, he would has averaged 17.3 points per game. Oraby has averaged 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season with a team-leading 14 blocks. He is second among Pac-12 players with an average of 3.5 blocks per game. Oraby has 11 blocks in his last two games and tied his career high with six vs. CS Fullerton on Nov. 19.

    TROJANS PAINTING A PRETTY PICTURE -- In the last three game USC has outscored the opposition 128-78 in points in the paint: vs. CSUN (50-26), vs. NAU (42-22) and vs. CSUF (36-30).

    TURNING THINGS AROUND -- In the first game at Utah State, USC shot 36.9 percent from the floor, 16.7 percent from three-point range while the Aggies made 48.3 percent of their shots, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Since then, USC has made 50.0 percent of its shots (84-for-168), 34.1 percent from three-point range (14-for-41) and held its opponents to 35.0 percent shooting (70-for-200), 26.8 percent from three point range (19-for-71).