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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 4, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Scouting report: USC

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Scouting report: USC
Game info: 8 p.m. Saturday at Edmundson Pavilion (10,000 capacity).
TV: ROOT Sports (Joel Meyers and Ernie Kent.)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Record: 6-17, 1-9.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Click here.
Coach: Kevin O’Neill is 41-46 in his third season with the Trojans. He is 229-240 in 15 years as a college coach and 33-49 in one season in the NBA.
Prediction: Picked seventh in the Pac-12 by the media.
Series: USC leads 67-65 in a series that began 1925. The Trojans have a two-game winning streak in Seattle and has three of the past four games at Hec Ed. The two teams split the regular-season series last season. O’Neill is 4-2 against Washington. He was 1-1 at Arizona and 3-1 with the Trojans. Lorenzo Romar is 11-7 against USC and 5-4 at home, which is his worst record versus any Pac-12 opponent.
Last meeting: Washington lost the regular-season finale 62-60. The Huskies trailed 36-26 at halftime and fell behind 42-28 in the second half before using a full court press to pressure USC’s back court and a 2-3 zone to protect against the Trojans’ big front line. Washington made just two three-pointers and Isaiah Thomas struggled with just 16 points. Venoy Overton had 15 and Scott Suggs 14. The Huskies cut their deficit to 49-45 7:38 left. It was as close as UW would until the final minute. USC controlled the tempo with forwards Nikola Vucevic (19 points and 10 rebounds) and Alex Stephenson (11 points and 14 rebounds.) Trojans guard Jio Fontan scored a game-high 20 points.
Last outing: USC lost 60-53 at Washington State on Thursday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Going into the season sophomore Maurice Jones was slated to be a solid role player and perhaps the second or third scoring option. Due to injuries and attrition, the 5-7 guard has had to carry the team. He hardly every leaves the floor. Jones averages 38.3 minutes, which ranks among the top five in the nation. He leads USC in scoring (14.2 points per game), assists (3.4) and steals (1.7). Jones has scored 28,25 and 22 pointns this season. He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Nov. 27. If USC wasn’t so awful, Jones might be an all-conference pick.
— Jones is the star, but sophomore forward Garrett Jackson may have the most talent among the available players. He’s averaging 12.8 in the past four games and is starting to become a focal point for an offense that struggles to generate points. On Thursday, Jackson converted three of six three-pointers.


OVERVIEW:
— USC is the lowest scoring Pac-12 team averaging just 54.3 points.
— Injuries have decimated the Trojans roster, which consists of six available scholarship players, two walk-ons and two players taller than 6-6.
— USC starts two freshmen (Byron Wesley and Alex Moore) in the back court. O’Neill said ideally one and maybe both would have redshirted this season.
— Junior guard Greg Allen came off the bench and scored a season high 17 points Thursday at Washington State.
— Junior walk-on guard Daniel Munoz has played in the past six games.
— USC has held opponents to 58.2 points per game, which is the lowest in the Pac-12. However, opponents are shooting and a 42.5 percent from the field, which is eight in the conference. The Trojans keep the score down because they play conservatively offensively. Only two Pac-12 teams have scored more than 66 points against USC.
— The Trojans lost four starters (Vucevic, Stepheson, Donte Smith and Marcus Simmons) from a team that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season.
— USC also lost four projected starters to season ending injuries including: Fontan (knee), sophomore forward Evan Smith (shoulder), junior forward Aaron Fuller (shoulder) and sophomore center Dewayne Dedmon (knee).
— USC held its first 19 opponents to 66 points or less before Oregon State scored 78 against the Trojan defense on Jan. 21. It was the fi rst time USC had started a season holding the opposition to 66 points or less for the fi rst 19 games since the 1948 season when it held all 24 opponents to under 66 points.
— USC has been outscored from the free throw line by 69 points. USC has struggled at the charity stripe, making just 60.9 percent (204-for-335).
STARTING LINEUP:
C – James Blasczyk, 7-1, 260, Jr., 2.7 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 0.3 apg.
F – Garrett Jackson, 6-7, 225, So., 5.7, 2.6, 0.5 spg.
G – Byron Wesley, 6-5, 210, Fr., 7.6, 4.8, 1.9 apg.
G – Alex Moore, 6-2, 180, Fr., 5.3, 2.0, 1.5
G – Maurice Jones 5-7, 155, So., 14.2, 2.4, 3.4
KEY MATCHUP:
— Stopping Jones will be important for Washington. He makes everything go for USC. At 5-7 and 155 pounds, he also doesn’t have the size to keep Tony Wroten Jr. and Abdul Gaddy out of the lane. They should be able to get the basket and score or create opportunities for teammates.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, top 25

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