USC To Face Wake Forest In Second Game At Battle 4 Atlantis

    Senior Pe'Shon Howard scored a career-high 23 points in the loss to Villanova on Thanksgiving Day.

    Nov. 28, 2013

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    The USC Trojans (4-2) will face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1) in a second-round game of the third annual Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament to be held the Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas at 12:30 p.m. PT on Nov. 29. The game will be televised on AXS TV with Kenny Rice, Seth Davis and Tom Walsh calling the action. The winner of the USC-Wake Forest game will face the winner of the Xavier-Tennessee game on Nov. 30 at 12:30 p.m. PT, while the other two teams will square off on Nov. 30 at 10:00 a.m. PT. Both games will be televised on AXS TV.

    PREVIEWING WAKE FOREST -- Wake Forest is 5-1 after falling 87-78 yesterday to No. 2 Kansas. The Demon Deacons have wins this season over Colgate (89-78), VMI (98-71), Presbyterian (69-48), Jacksonville (90-83) and The Citadel (82-54). Sophomore Codi Miller-McIntyre leads the Demon Deacons in scoring with an 19.8 average. USC and Wake Forest have met only one other time with the Trojans falling 95-83 on Dec. 29, 1954.

    USC DEFEATED BY VILLANOVA -- Pe'Shon Howard scored a career-high 23 points, but USC fell to Villanova 94-79 in the Quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 28. The Trojans struggled at the beginning of the game and faced early deficits of 11-2, 17-8 and 27-18 before they got on track. USC scored the next eight points to cut the lead to 27-26, but Villanova continued its hot shooting to build a 48-37 halftime lead. The Wildcats made eight three-pointers in the first half and 11 in the game to keep the Trojans at bay. USC matched a season high with 16 turnovers and was outrebounded (44-41) for the first time this season. Villanova made 49.2 percent of its shots, while USC connected on 41.0 percent.

    ON DECK: XAVIER OR TENNESSEE -- Xavier is 5-1 after falling 77-74 in overtime against Iowa on Nov. 28. Xavier has wins this season vs. Gardner Webb (83-59), Tennessee (67-63), Morehead State (79-56), Miami-OH (77-51) and vs. Abilene Christian (93-65). USC lost its only meeting with Xavier, 75-68, on Dec. 15, 1978. Semaj Christon leads the Musketeers with a 16.0 ppg average. Tennessee is 3-2 after falling 78-70 to UTEP on Nov. 28. Tennessee also has a loss to Xavier (67-63) and wins against USC Upstate (74-65), The Citadel (86-60) and Tennessee State (88-67). Jordan McRae leads Tennessee with a 21.6 scoring average. USC is 3-4 all-time against Tennessee, winning the last meeting 65-64 on Dec. 21, 2010.

    FAST START -- USC was 4-0 on the just concluded homestand, winning its first four home games to start a season for the first time since the 2009 season. It was also the first four-game home winning streak since Nov. 24-Dec. 23, 2010. USC's 4-2 start is its best since also opening the 2011 season with a 4-2 record. The last time USC opened with a 5-2 record was the 2009 season.

    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 109 points in USC's last five games. Through USC's first six games, Jacobs leads the team with 23 assists and is third with 27 rebounds. Jovanovic is averaging 7.0 points, Jacobs 5.7, Prince 4.8 and Dukes 2.7. Jovanovic is also fourth on the team with 26 rebounds.

    SIGNS OF SLAM CITY -- USC had three dunks vs. Villanova on Nov. 28 and now has out-slammed the opposition 21-9 through the first five games.

    BATTLE 4 THE GLASS -- USC was outrebounded by Villanova, 44-41, the first time this season USC was defeated on the boards. Villanova had 13 offensive rebounds, the fifth time in six games that USC's opponent had 10 or more offensive rebounds. USC still owns a 250-229 advantage in rebounds this season.

    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. He scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds vs. Villanova for his second second career double-double and has at least 15 points and 8 rebounds in each game this season. Among Pac-12 players, he currently ranks among the Pac-12's top 10 in scoring (19.0), rebounding (9.0) and minutes per game (33.5).

    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 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season with a team-leading 19 blocks. Oraby has 16 blocks in his last four games and tied his career high with six vs. CS Fullerton on Nov. 19. Oraby's 5 points and 4 rebounds vs. Villanova were both season lows.

    TROJANS PAINTING A PRETTY PICTURE -- In the last five games USC has outscored the opposition 209-128 in points in the paint: vs. CSUN (50-26), vs. NAU (42-22), vs. CSUF (36-30), vs. West Alabama (32-20) and vs. Villanova (49-30).

    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 47.1 percent of its shots (136-for-289), 36.6 percent from three-point range (26-for-71) and held its opponents to 36.9 percent shooting (122-for-331), 32.0 percent from three point range (41-for-128).