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MBB-FBS: USC Trojans (19-8) at Colorado Buffaloes (15-13)

On February 23 at 6:00 p.m. (PT), the USC Trojans (19-8, 11-5) will take on the Colorado Buffaloes (15-13, 7-10) at the CU Events Center. Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams will be the game’s broadcasters on ESPN2.

Colorado Buffaloes (15-13, 7-10) are facing Colorado after losing 78-68 to Arizona on Feb. 18. This season, Colorado has a record of 11-2 at home, including a 9-1 record in its last ten games played at the CU Events Center. With an average of 16.4 points per game, junior forward Tristan da Silva leads the Buffaloes in scoring. USC crushed Colorado 68-61 at the Galen Community on Jan. 12 to improved to 9-16 all-time against the Bison. Last season, USC defeated Colorado 61-58.

When fully loaded, USC has a 6-1 record in games where it has access to the entire roster. That stretch includes three victories over Pac-12 standings-leading teams. When the entire roster was available, USC lost to Arizona, 34-1 in its last 35 home games. USC forward Vincent Iwuchukwu missed the first 16 games of the season, while guard Reese Dixon-Waters (left foot) and forward Joshua Morgan (right ankle) missed four games before returning against Stanford on February 18. On February 2, at Washington State, both players suffered injuries.

9 TO 10 — On Feb. 16, when Oziyah Sellers scored a career-high 11 points against California, he became the ninth Trojan to score 10 or more points in a game this season.

The Johnson Jump: This season, sophomore Kobe Johnson is 15th in the nation with 60 steals and is scoring an average of 8.5 points and 4.9 points. Last year Johnson arrived at the midpoint of 1.2 places and 1.0 bounce back while playing in 27 games. Additionally, Johnson ranks third on the team in terms of assists (74) and blocks (13). He did not score in double figures in his first 35 games until Dec. 4, when he scored 17 points against Oregon State. In nine of his last 19 games, he has scored at least double digits, averaging 9.7 points per game. His 21 points in the game against Washington on February 4 are his career high. 15 times this season, he has had five or more rebounds. He missed his first seven attempts at the three-point line in the season, but he has made 20 of his last 52 attempts for a 38.5 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

BOOGIE DOWN, BUT NOT FOR LONG Senior guard Boogie Ellis scored nine points on Feb. 11 against Oregon State, snapping a 14-game scoring streak. He then scored 22 points against California on February 16 and a career-high 33 points against Stanford on February 18. He has scored a total of 307 points in his last 16 games, including a career-high 31 points against UCLA on January 26. On December 18, he started his streak with a career-high 28 points against Auburn. Ellis is the best player at USC with a 17.1 scoring average, 65 made three-pointers, and 97 made free throws. With 42 steals, he also ranks second among Trojans. He now ranks 17th on USC’s all-time list with 121 made 3-pointers while playing for the Trojans.

UTAH ON DECK — On February 25 at 5:00 p.m. (PT), USC will host the Utah Runnin’ Utes (17-11, 10-7) at the Huntsman Center. This season, Utah is 12-3 at home. With a 16.6 average, senior center Branden Carlson is the only Utes player to score in double figures. On January 14, USC defeated Utah 71-56 at the Galen Center. USC trails 25-26 in the record-breaking series with Utah, however has dominated four matches in succession against the Runnin’ Utes.

LET’S GET STARTED WITH THE DEFENSE: On November 30, USC held California to a 27.7 percent shooting percentage, its lowest mark since holding Stanford to a 25.4 percent shooting percentage on March 3, 2021. Oregon was the only team this season to make more than 50% of its shots against USC, making 53.8% of its attempts. In 15 of its 27 games this season, USC has limited its opponents to under 40% shooting. This season, USC is holding its rivals to a 39.2 shooting percentage, which ranks 12th in the nation. USC’s defense has held opponents to a 3rd-place 38.9 field goal percentage over the past four seasons.

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