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USC Basketball vs. Cal State Fullerton: What to Watch, TV Schedule, Odds and More

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The Trojans (2-3) try to scratch its way back to .500 welcoming Fullerton (1-2) on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.

Luis Gavrilovic set career highs with 13 points & 10 rebounds on Sunday.
Luis Gavrilovic set career highs with 13 points & 10 rebounds on Sunday.
Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

The USC Trojans are coming off a disappointing loss to Penn State (3-1). They came back from a 13-point first half deficit to lead by as many as six in the second half, but struggled to put the ball in the basket, particularly around the rim. USC will try to bounce back against Cal State Fullerton when it returns to the Galen Center Tuesday night.

What to Watch:

Put the Ball in the Basket - USC shot just 27 percent from the floor in the loss to Penn State. The craziest part is that the Trojans actually shot 32 percent from beyond the arc and only 25 percent on two-point attempts. That starts up from where post players Darion Clark, Nikola Jovanovic and Luis Gavrilovic were a combined 7-for-25 from the floor.

The Trojans had their chances, but just couldn't capitalize. In the final minute alone, USC had five offensive rebounds, but also missed three layups. In a sequence just before halftime, USC had the following take place:

  • Luis Gavrilovic missed layup.
  • Darion Clark offensive rebound.
  • Darion Clark missed layup.
  • Luis Gavrilovic offensive rebound.
  • Luis Gavrilovic missed layup.
  • Julian Jacobs offensive rebound.
  • Penn State foul.
  • Malik Marquetti missed free throw.
  • Luis Gavrilovic offensive rebound.
  • Luis Gavrilovic missed jumper.
  • Darion Clark offensive rebound.
  • Jordan McLaughlin turnover.

FIVE offensive rebounds on one trip down the floor still netted no points. The Trojans have to put the ball in the basket.

Turnovers - After averaging nearly 19 turnovers in the first three games, USC only turned the ball over nine times against Drexel and 13 against Penn State. If the Trojans can limit themselves to an 11 turnover average and win the turnover margin like they did in their last two games, they will be in a position to win most nights.

Missing Martin - Freshman forward Malik Martin left USC's Charleston Classic opener after he landed awkwardly and hyperextended his right knee. He couldn't put any weight on the knee and needed teammates help to carry him off the floor. Martin was supposed to have an MRI to check the extent of the injury when the team returned to Los Angeles, but there's been no word on how the exam went. The Trojans only have three other post players, so they need to step up and shoot better than 7-for-25, though Luis Gavrilovic did set career highs with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

All About the Boards, No Trouble - USC has to win the board battle like it did against Penn State. If the Trojans attack the offensive glass and protect against Fullerton's offensive rebounds, they will put themselves in position to win. Fullerton has lost the rebounding margin the last two games and there's no reason why USC can't push that to three straight.

Three-Headed Monster - The Trojans will be tasked with stopping Fullerton's three-headed monster. Seniors Moses Morgan and Alex Harris are both averaging over 15 points while junior guard Lanerryl Johnson is adding another 12.3. They each are averaging more than 10 shots per game as well, so USC will have to choose to either let one or two get his points while shutting down the rest of the team or try to cut the three heads off the Titan monster and force the rest of the team to beat them.

The Transfer Titans - Cal State Fullerton has players from all over the country and all over the college landscape. Second-year head coach Dedrique Taylor, formerly an assistant at Arizona State, has built up his roster with nearly all transfers. Players come from as far as DePaul and Hampton to nearby at Pepperdine and Santa Monica Community College.

Only three of the 16 players on Fullerton's roster selected the Titans out of high school, which means the team is a veteran squad as those three players (Jamar Akoh, Sheldon Blackwell, Joe Boyd) are the only three players with less than two years of experience. The Titans do have two players, Malcolm Brooks and Tre' Coggins, sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules and another, Jordan Mason, who isn't available until after the fall semester.

Flashback:

Last Matchup: USC won 76-62 on Nov 20, 2013.

USC raced out to a 18-3 lead to start the game and built up a 24-point second-half lead. The Titans went on a 14-0 run to trim the lead to 10, but USC settled down and continued to force turnovers -- 17 in total from Fullerton. Former USC guard Byron Wesley scored 22 points to lead USC while Fullerton's Sheldon Blackwell scored a then-career-high 14 points to lead the Titans.

Where to Watch:

Game Time, TV channel: 8:00 p.m. PST, Pac-12 Networks (Roxy Bernstein, Don MacLean)

Radio: Gametracker. USC: ESPN 710 AM (Chris Fisher, Jordan Moore); Cal State Fullerton: FullertonTitans.com

Follow Along: USC Twitter - @USC_Hoops; Fullerton Twitter - @FullertonHoops

Odds & More:

Odds and Wagers: Latest Odds: USC -6 favorite, Over/Under: 139 points

Projected Starting Lineups:

USC
G - Jordan McLaughlin (6-1 freshman)
G - Katin Reinhardt (6-6 sophomore)
G - Elijah Stewart (6-7 freshman)
F - Darion Clark (6-7 sophomore)
F - Nikola Jovanovic (6-11 sophomore)

Cal State Fullerton
G - Lanerryl Johnson (6-1 junior)
G - Alex Harris (6-1 senior)
F - Moses Morgan (6-6 senior)
F - Joe Boyd (6-9 sophomore)
C - Kennedy Esume (6-10 junior)