No. 22 USC To Play At No. 21 Oregon Friday|
Dec. 29, 2016
The No. 22 USC Trojans (14-0, 1-0) will play the No. 21 Oregon Ducks (12-2, 1-0) in Eugene, Ore. on Dec. 30 at 7:00 p.m. USC’s 14-0 start is its best since the 1971 team began 16-0 on the way to a 24-2 record. The 14-game winning streak by USC is its longest at any point during one season since the 16 games in 1971 and is tied for the fourth-longest in school history. USC head coach Andy Enfield is seeking his 100th career win.
BREAKING DOWN OREGON -- Oregon improved to 12-2 with an exciting 89-87 win over No. 2 UCLA on Dec. 28, as Dillon Brooks hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer. Five Ducks are averaging double figures in points led by forward Chris Boucher (13.7 ppg). USC leads the all-time series with Oregon 60-54 (2 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty), but has lost its last 12 games against the Ducks. USC last defeated Oregon 80-66 on March 5, 2009 and last won at Oregon (6 straight losses) on Jan. 2, 2009 (83-62). Oregon has won 34 consecutive home games.
USC OPENS PAC-12 PLAY WITH WIN AT OREGON STATE -- Chimezie Metu had 19 points and eight rebounds and No. 22 USC stayed undefeated with a 70-63 victory over Oregon State on Dec. 28 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for USC at Oregon State and was its first win in Corvallis since the 2008 season. Jordan McLaughlin added 10 points, four steals and tied a career high with eight rebounds and Jonah Mathews had 10 points for USC. Stephen Thompson led OSU with a career-high 24 points, 19 in the second half to lead the Beavers’ late run. USC led 34-17 at halftime and by as many as 19 points in the second half, but there were 31 fouls called in the second half and neither team could get in a rhythm. OSU cut the lead to 66-60 with 29 seconds left, but McLaughlin and De’Anthony Melton hit a pair of free throws to close it out. USC made 27 of 33 free throws for an 81.8 percentage, while OSU made 54.2 percent from the charity stripe. USC had eight blocks and five steals in the game and held OSU to 39.0 percent shooting. Elijah Stewart was held to 8 points and went without a three-point basket (0-for-5), snapping a streak of 20 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer made dating back to last season.
THE OREGON TRAIL -- USC is attempting to complete a sweep at the Oregon schools for the first time since the 2008 season. USC had been swept the last six times traveling to face Oregon and Oregon State and the win Wednesday snapped a 13-game losing streak in the state of Oregon.
STANFORD ON DECK -- USC’s next game will be vs. Stanford (8-4, 0-0) at the Galen Center on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. The Cardinal opens up Pac-12 play hosting Arizona State on Dec. 30 and Arizona on Jan. 1 before traveling to Los Angeles. Junior Reid Travis leads Stanford with an average of 17.8 points per game. USC lost its only game against Stanford last season, an 84-64 setback on Feb. 25 in Palo Alto, Calif., and has lost its last five games against the Cardinal. Stanford leads the all-time series 125-122 with one USC win vacated due to NCAA penalty.
AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE... -- USC is one of five Division I schools (out of 351) which is still undefeated this season through games of Dec. 28.
McLAUGHLIN GARNERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- Junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin was named the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 19-25. It was the first conference weekly honor for McLaughlin and first by a Trojan since Elijah Stewart took home the award on Dec. 22, 2014. McLaughlin averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals in USC’s three victories last week. He helped lead the Trojans to the Las Vegas Classic title by capping off his 22-point finals performance with a game-winning layup with 4.5 seconds remaining in overtime of a 94-92 win over Wyoming on Dec. 23. McLaughlin was named the MVP of the Las Vegas Classic, and during the week also averaged 39.0 minutes per game, was 11-for-11 from the free throw line and posted a 4.8 assist to turnover ratio (19-4).
TORCHING THE TWINE -- After beginning the season making 38.0 percent of its shots and 24.7 from three-point range in the first three games, the Trojans have heated up. In the last 11 games, USC is shooing 48.6 percent from the floor (323-for-664), including 38.9 percent from three-point range (93-for-239). However, USC shot just 37.3 percent overall and 27.8 percent from longrange in the win at Oregon State.
PRECISION FROM THE POINT -- USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin has efficiently led the USC offense while averaging 14.4 points 3.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He is also making 51.9 percent of his shots (69-for-133), including 7-for-7 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11. He ranks third among Pac-12 players with 71 assists and second with a 2.6 assist to turnover ratio through games on Dec. 28. In the last 11 games, McLaughlin has 59 assists and 19 turnovers. In the last seven games, he has averaged 18.6 points (130 total), 4.7 rebounds (33 total) and 5.1 assists (36 total), while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor (43-for-80). McLaughlin has 331 career assists which ranks seventh on USC’s all-time assists list. Gus Williams is sixth on the list with 362 career assists as a Trojan. Has made 26 of last 27 free throw attempts.
SULTANS OF SWAT -- USC set a school record for blocks in a game with 14 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 and has recorded 49 blocks in the last six games. USC is averaging 6.6 blocks per game which ranks 7th in the country and is on a pace which would break last season’s school record total of 188. Four different Trojans have at least 13 blocks in USC’s first 14 games: Metu (28), Stewart (22), Melton (16) and Rakocevic (13).
SECOND TO NONE -- USC scored 53 points in the second half against UCSB on Nov. 27, 52 in the second half against BYU on Dec. 3 and has averaged 43.1 points (603 total) after halftime this season. USC’s opponents have averaged 37.6 points (526 total) in the second half against the Trojans. USC won or tied in second-half scoring in the first 11 games, but has been outscored after the break in the last three games.
BALANCE WITH THE BALL -- Eight different Trojans have scored at least 13 points in a game this season and six are averaging at least 9.7 points per game.
THE YOUNG WILL LEAD -- USC’s roster has only one scholarship senior and two scholarship juniors and 63.8 percent of the minutes played this season (1803 of 2825 minutes) has been by freshmen or sophomores. Ken Pom lists USC 328th in the country in terms of game experience.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE -- USC has held the opposition to 69.6 points per game and to a .390 shooting percentage. USC has held 10 of its opponents to under 40 percent shooting and only two over 41.5 percent (UCSB 45.5 percent & BYU 43.5). USC has also only had two games in which it has had more fouls than its opponent (23-22 vs. SMU and 22-17 vs. Wyoming).
STEW CAN DO -- Junior guard Elijah Stewart made a career-high seven three-point baskets vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 to tie for fourth on USC’s single-game three-point baskets made list. He had made at least one shot from beyond the arc in 20 consecutive games dating back to last season, before going 0-for-5 at Oregon State on Dec. 28. His career total of 133 three-pointers made ranks tied for 11th with Anthony Pendleton on USC’s all-time list, 12 behind Stais Boseman who is 10th with 145. Stewart leads USC with a 15.0 ppg average and with 36 three-point baskets, while ranking second in blocks (22), third in rebounds (77) and fourth in free throws made (32). He has also scored in double figures in 11 of 14 games this season, with a high of 30 points. Stewart’s 2.6 made three-pointers per game is fourth among all Pac-12 players. Stewart also has 22 blocks this season and 85 in his career which ties him with Dewayne Dedmon for 10th on USC’s all-time blocked shots list.
METU CONTINUES HIS RISE -- Sophomore Chimezie Metu scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 11 for his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career. He tied a season high with 19 points at Oregon State on Dec. 28 and in the last nine games he has averaged 15.0 points (135 total) and 8.0 rebounds (72 total). For the season he is averaging 13.5 points and 7.9 rebounds and leads the team with 28 blocks and 28 dunks, while ranking fourth on the team with 14 steals. He has been a consistent force for the Trojans with double-figures in points and six or more rebounds in 12 of the 14 games this season.
DE’ANTHONY DOING IT ALL -- Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton scored a career-high 16 points, had eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. He is tied for first among Pac-12 players with 24 steals and his 1.7 steals per game ranks third. He has at least two steals in seven of 14 games. Melton is averaging 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 45 assists. He ranks seventh in the conference with a 1.9 assist to turnover ratio.
MATHEWS HAS BREAKOUT GAME -- Freshman guard Jonah Mathews has provided USC with valuable minutes off the bench all season, but none more impressive than in the overtime win vs. Wyoming on Dec. 23. With several Trojans in foul trouble, Mathews played a season-high 39 minutes and scored a career-best 26 points and registered a USC 2016-17 best six steals. Mathews made 5 of 8 three-pointers, including a cluch trey to tie the game at 90-all in overtime. He followed that up with 10 points at Oregon State on Dec. 28 and is averaging 6.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and is third on the team with 16 three-point baskets made.
ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY TURNOVERS -- USC has commited just 10.5 turnovers per game which ranks tied for 11th in the country. USC has committed 147 turnovers compared to its opponent’s 176 and enjoys a 223-139 advantage on points off of turnovers. USC committed 10 turnovers to Oregon State’s eight on Dec. 28, just the fourth game this season with more turnovers than its opposition.
TROJANS BECOMING ROAD WARRIORS - Maybe the road isn’t so long and winding anymore for USC as its 76-55 win at San Diego on Nov. 30 and its 65-63 win at Texas A&M made it six consecutive nonconference road victories (also at Dayton in 2014, at Boston College and New Mexico in 2015 and at UCSB in 2016). USC opened up conference play with a win at Oregon State on Dec. 28, snapping a six-game road losing streak in Pac-12 games. USC was 4-23 in Pac-12 road games in Enfield’s first three seasons (1-8 in 2014, 0-9 in 2015 & 3-6 in 2016).