USC Closes Nonconference Slate With Game Against Vermont At Galen Tuesday

    Elijah Stewart went 10-for-10 in the Trojans' last game, a 75-71 win at BC on Dec. 21. He tied Taj Gibson's school record for makes without a miss in a game.
    Dec. 28, 2014

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    The USC Trojans (7-4) will host the Vermont Catamounts (5-6) at the Galen Center on Dec. 30 at 8:30 p.m. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network and AM 690 and is part of a doubleheader as the USC women's team will face UCLA at 6 p.m. Both the men's and women's games will be shown live on the Pac-12 Network. USC has won five of its last six games and is playing its final nonconference game before Pac-12 play begins on Jan. 2 at Utah.

    VERMONT CLOSES OUT NONCONFERENCE SLATE -- Vermont (5-6) is coming off a 58-55 loss at St. Louis on Dec. 21. UVM has lost three games by four points or less and one in double overtime. The Catamounts have averaged 67.4 points per game, led by senior forward Harold Hector's 11.4 average per game. The Pasadena native and former Pepperdine player has missed the last three games with a foot injury. Vermont was 22-11 last season and won the America East regular season title, but returned only five lettermen and one starter from that squad. This is the first meeting in basketball between Vermont and USC.

    USC WINS AT BOSTON COLLEGE -- Elijah Stewart scored 22 points and Nikola Jovanovic had 16 with nine rebounds to lead USC to a 75-71 victory at Boston College on Dec. 21. Aaron Brown had 18 points to lead BC. Stewart was a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor to tie the USC record for makes without a miss held by Taj Gibson, set on March 20, 2009, also against BC in the NCAA Tournament. Olivier Hanlan had 15 points and Dennis Clifford scored nine with nine rebounds for the Eagles, who had been unbeaten at home. BC led 45-41 early in second before USC scored 14 of the next 17 points to take a 55-48 lead and the Trojans led the rest of the way. USC led 72-63 with 22 seconds left, but BC made it interesting. Patrick Heckmann hit a 3-pointer, and Hanlan stole the ball in the backcourt and made a layup. Katin Reinhardt made 1 of 2 free throws, then Brown made a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game. Reinhardt made two free throws with 11 seconds left, and Hanlan missed a 3-pointer that could have cut the deficit to one point.

    TROJANS OPEN PAC-12 PLAY AT No. 14 UTAH -- USC's next game will be at No. 14 Utah (9-2) on Jan. 2, the opener of Pac-12 play for both teams. Utah will face Carroll on Dec. 30 before hosting USC. Junior guard Delon Wright leads the Utes with a 16.4 scoring average and 5.2 assists per game. Utah averages 75.3 points per game and has scored at least 80 points six times. USC has lost its last three games against Utah and the all-time series is tied, 17-17.

    SCORING IS SOARING -- USC has scored 75 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 30-Dec. 9, 2003 (last time 5 or more G was in 2002). USC has averaged 79.5 points in its last four games, after averaging 62.3 points per game in the first seven contests.

    STEWART EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- Freshman Elijah Stewart was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week for the week of Dec. 15-21. Stewart was 10-for-10 from the floor, including 2-for-2 from three-point range, in USC's 75-71 win at Boston College on Dec. 21. His 10-for-10 effort tied the USC record of Taj Gibson for most makes in a game without a miss. Coincidentally, Gibson also set the record against BC on March 20, 2009.

    J-MAC ON THE ATTACK -- Freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin has averaged 18.5 points in the last four games (74 total) and leads USC this season with a 13.7 scoring average. He also has 22 assists, 15 rebounds and six steals in the four games, while making 10 three-pointers.

    JOVANOVIC SURGING, TOO -- Sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic has scored in double figures the last six games. In the six games he has three double-doubles and averaged 14.7 points (88 total) and 10.5 rebounds (63 total).

    THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED -- USC has won its last three nonconference road games, at Dayton on Dec. 22, 2013 (79-76 in OT), at New Mexico on Nov. 30, 2014 (66-54) and at Boston College on Dec. 21, 2014 (75-71). The last time USC won three or more consecutive nonconference road games was in 2001 when it won four straight at Bradley (60-50) on Dec. 1, at Long Beach State (86-68) on Dec. 12, at San Diego (76-67 in OT) on Dec. 20 and at LMU (81-67) on Dec. 22. The Trojans have won consecutive road games (at New Mexico and at Boston College) (conference or nonconference) for the first time since Jan. 30, 2013 at UCLA (75-71 in OT) and Feb. 14, 2013 at Stanford (65-64).

    THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC has held six of 11 opponents this season to 40 percent shooting or less, for a combined 39.8 shooting percentage. Last season, USC's opponents had a combined field goal percentage of 43.0 percent.

    SUDDEN IMPACT -- Freshman Jordan McLaughlin leads USC with a scoring average of 13.7 points in the first 11 games. He also leads USC in assists (59), steals (18), free throws made/attempted (40/59) and three-pointers made (17). USC's freshman class of McLaughlin, Malik Martin, Elijah Stewart and Malik Marquetti has scored 37.9 percent of the Trojans' points this season (286 of 754). When you add in redshirt sophomores Katin Reinhardt and Darion Clark who are playing their first season for the Trojans, 64.7 percent (488 of 754) of USC's points are from newcomers.

    STRUGGLES FROM THE LINE CONTINUE -- USC was 15-for-28 (.536) from the free throw line in the overtime loss to Army on Dec. 13. USC has made only 58.9 percent of its free throws in the last six games (73-for-124). USC is shooting 61.4 percent from the free throw line this season and has only topped 70 percent in one of its first 11 games (70.6 percent vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17.

    TURNOVERS ARE HARD TO RESIST -- USC had 17 turnovers in the win at Boston College, its most turnovers in a game since also commiting 17 vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17. USC improved to 2-3 this season when committing 14 or more turnovers. Still, USC has averaged 12.1 turnovers the past eight games (97 total), after averaging 18.7 in the first three games of the season (56 total). USC has also forced 14.4 turnovers by its opponent in the last eight games (115 total), after generating only 10.7 in the first three games.