USC (7-3) at Long Beach State (1-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 19, 10:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: FSN-PT. Home Record: USC 6-0, LBSU 1-2. Away Record: USC 0-1, LBSU 0-4. Neutral Record: USC 1-2, LBSU 0-3. Conference Record: USC 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: Instate rivals will collide on Thursday night as the USC Trojans pay a visit to the Long Beach State 49ers for a non-conference battle at the Walter Pyramid.
The first season for the Trojans under Andy Enfield has gone well through 10 games. USC is 7-3 overall and currently riding a three-game winning streak. The most recent victory was a tight one, ending in a 63-59 final against CS- Bakersfield. Up next the Trojans will head east for a matchup with Dayton.
In the season opener Long Beach State defeated Hawaii-Pacific, 71-59. Since then the 49ers have lost nine straight games. They have had 11 days to recover from their last defeat, which ended in a 76-66 final at NC State on Dec. 7. A win could be in the cards next time out for the 49ers, who host Montana State- Billings on Saturday.
In last season's meeting the Trojans played well defensively took earn a 62-44 victory. USC has won four straight against the 49ers and leads the all-time series by a count of 8-5.
It certainly wasn't an impressive victory for USC against CS-Bakersfield. The Trojans did hold the Roadrunners to 36.1 percent shooting but got outscored, 21-3, from beyond the arc. They were also outrebounded, 37-33, despite a double-double from Nikola Jovanovic (14 points, 10 rebounds).
Normally USC is a solid team on the boards (40.2 pg) as well as in terms of offensive efficiency. The team is netting 74.3 points per game and connecting on 45.1 percent of its shots from the floor, as it adjusts to Enfield's up- tempo style. Byron Wesley (17.3 ppg, 7.3 apg) has benefited most from the change in philosophy. The Trojans' leading scorer has been in double figures in every game this year, including a 20-point effort last time out. Pe'Shon Howard (11.2 ppg, 4 apg) is the only other double-figure scorer. Julian Jacobs (6.8 ppg, 4.5 apg) contributes mostly as a distributor and Omar Oraby (9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3 bpg) is a solid force down low.
Dan Jennings scored 18 points and David Samuels contributed a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds), but it still wasn't enough for Long Beach State against NC State. The 49ers allowed the Wolfpack to connect on 50 percent of their field-goal attempts, while turning in a 41.3 percent effort themselves.
Long Beach State has let itself down far too many times by playing poorly on the offensive end. The 49ers are scoring a mere 64.1 points per game and hitting less than 40 percent from the floor. Michael Caffey (16 ppg, 4.3 apg) and Jennings (12.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg) represent the only consistent scoring threats on the roster. Caffey managed 16 points against NC State and also added to his team lead in assists with six. Even though Jennings netted 18 points last time out, he was not as efficient as usual. The 57.1-percent shooter made good on just 8-of-17 shots to come up with the point total.
This is just the second true road game of the season for USC. Even with the disadvantage of playing away from home, the Trojans have more than enough reason to believe they can top Long Beach State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 77, Long Beach State 66
12/19 11:50:01 ET