USC Plays First True Road Game At UCSB On Thursday

    Darion Clark came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench against Monmouth on Nov. 29.
    Dec. 1, 2015

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    The USC Trojans (5-2) will play at the UCSB Gauchos (2-3) at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. This will be USC’s first true road game after four home games followed by three neutral site games.

    BREAKING DOWN UCSB - Santa Barbara is 2-3 with wins at Omaha (60-59) and San Francisco (68-61) and losses to three Pac-12 school’s, at California (67-85), vs. Oregon State (59-71) and at Arizona State (68-70). Michael Bryson (18.8), John Green (12.8) and Gabe Vincent (10.8) are all averaging double figures in scoring through five games. USC leads the all-time series 11-1, but UCSB won the last meeting 69-53 in Santa Barbara on Dec. 3, 2002.

    REMATCH WITH MONMOUTH GOES HAWKS WAY -- USC had not faced the same team twice in the first seven games of a season since the 1966-67 season and they won’t want to do it again anytime soon following a 83-73 loss to Monmouth in the third-place game of the AdvoCare Invitational on Nov. 29. USC had defeated Monmouth 101-90 at the Galen Center on Nov. 16. USC made a season-low 35.7 of its shots from the floor and 13.6 percent from three-point range. USC trailed by 14 points in the second half and cut it to three points with 1:22 left, but could not get over the hump. Julian Jacobs matched his career high with 19 points.

    IDAHO ON DECK - USC’s next game will be vs. Idaho at the Galen Center on Dec. 7. Idaho is 4-3 and will host CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 2 before traveling to Los Angeles to face the Trojans. Victor Sanders leads the Vandals with a 13.6 points per game average. Idaho was 13-17 last season and returned one starter from that team. USC leads the all-time series 10-1, winning the last matchup 104-64 on Dec. 1, 1976.

    “J-MASK” IS BACK - Sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin, a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection a year ago despite missing the final eight games due to injury, has come back from labral repair surgery to both shoulders to average 15.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in his first seven games. He also has 29 assists, 11 steals and a 14 three-point baskets. McLaughlin broke his nose late in the first half against Xavier on Nov. 27 and played wearing a mask the next game vs. Monmouth on Nov. 29.

    THE BUMPY ROAD - USC is playing its first true road game of the season. USC was 2-9 in road games last season, winning its first two (at New Mexico and Boston College) and then losing all nine conference road games. USC has won its last three nonconference road games, but is 5-13 in its last 18 nonconference road games (over 7 seasons). The overall road record in the last seven seasons is 17-64 for a 21.0 winning percentage.

    BACKCOURT BOOMING -- In the first seven games, USC’s guards Jordan McLaughlin, Julian Jacobs and Elijah Stewart have combined to average 38.6 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game. The trio has also averaged a combined 10.9 free throw attempts per game.

    MAKING A POINT - USC has scored 592 points in the first seven games of the season, its most to start a season since scoring 617 in the first seven games of the 1996 season. The last time USC scored more points in any seven-game stretch was Dec. 20, 2000-Jan. 22, 2001 when they tallied 603.

    BENNY BUCKETS - Freshman Bennie Boatwright scored a season-best 22 points vs. Wichita State on Nov. 26, including making 5 of 9 three-point attempts. He then scored 16 points and grabbed 9 rebounds vs. Monmouth on Nov. 29. He now is averaging 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds this season. He is tie for most three-pointers made (14) and third in rebounds (41) on the team.

    NICE START ON THE BOARDS -- USC has won or tied in the battle of the boards in five of the seven games with an average of 44.4 per contest. USC averaged 35.9 rebounds per game last season.

    TALL AND TALENTED FRESHMAN TANDEM - USC’s freshman class is comprised of forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu. Boatwright is 6-10 and averaged 27.8 points and 13 rebounds for Village Christian HS, en route to being named the CIF Southern Section Division 1AA Player of the Year. Metu is 6-11 and averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds for Lawndale HS, to earn the CIF Southern Section Division II Player of the Year. Despite foul trouble in three of his first seven college games, Boatwright is averaging 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds. Metu has averaged 3.4 points and 3.1 rebounds, while leading the team with 18 blocks.

    LET ME ASSIST YOU - USC has averaged 1.8 more assists per game than turnovers this season (15.4 to 13.6 per game), despite registering just six assists vs. Monmouth on Nov. 29. Last season, USC averaged 12.4 assists and 14.0 turnovers.

    DEFENSE COMING UP BIG - USC held Wichita State to 35.1 percent shooting on Nov. 26. It was the fourth time in seven games this season that USC’s opponent shot under 40 percent in a game. USC shot under 40 percent for the first time this season on Nov. 29 vs. Monmouth. For the season, USC is making 46.4 percent of its shots, while its opponents are hitting 37.8 percent. The 37.8 shooting percentage by its opponents ranks 44th best in the country through games of Nov. 30.

    USC BLOCK EXCHANGE - USC has registered 48 blocks in the first seven games for an average of 6.9 per game which ranks fifth among all NCAA DI teams. USC had a total of 133 blocks in 32 games last season for a 4.2 blocks per game average.

    DID THEY MOVE THE LINE? - USC was just 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) from three-point range in the loss vs. Monmouth on Nov. 29. In the previous four games, USC had made 46 three-pointers (46-for-98) for a 46.9 percentage. On the year, USC is averaging 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and has made 62 three-pointers for an average of 8.9 makes per game. The 62 three-pointers made are tied for the 25th-most in the country. Last season USC made a total of 170 for an average of 5.3 makes per game.

    EVERYONE CHIPS IN -- USC has six players averaging 10.9 or more points and seven players have averaged 3.1 rebounds or more in the first seven games. USC had five players score in double figures vs. Monmouth on Nov. 16, the first time it had accomplished the feat since five scored in double figures in a 78-62 win vs. Boston College on Dec. 8, 2013.