Note from The Editor: Locking into the “On The Road to March Madness” mind-set comes at a very good time in the current PAC-12 season for the USC Trojans (17-5), and 3rd year Head Coach, Andy Enfield. All as a result of their solid and convincing Week #5 performances over the visiting Washington St. “Cougars” and the University of Washington “Huskies,” the Trojans are tied for 3rd place with three other schools, at (6-3). The schedule doesn’t get any easier, since next up for the Trojans, are their perennial arch-rivals, the UCLA “Bruins” on Thursday, 2/4 at the Galen Center. The Trojans went into Pauley Pavilion on January 13th, and soundly defeated the Bruins, (89-75), for a huge road win in this season’s first rivalry encounter. Rico Cabrera, Sr./Managing Editor/EastLASportsScene.Com
The Trojans are turning the experts’ and sports writers’ heads in all directions this season with remarkable stat lines such as—they’ve won 13 consecutive home games, their 9.5 game improvement quotient from last season (12-20 to 17-5) is tied for 6th Best in the country, tops among teams in the Power 5 conferences, and they are now currently tied for 3rd place in the PAC-12. The Trojans began the 2015-16 season equalling the school’s “best start” that was credited to the 2001-02 team.
Brief Game Summary: The Trojans displayed a great deal of poise and confidence in this closely-watched and well-attended game. After all, it was the Trojans’ turn to host this rematch from game number two of the conference, a contest that USC should have won, had it not been for an unwelcomed and untimely melt-down. They blew a 20 point lead and lost by two points, 87-85. This time, the Trojans’ found their offensive rhythm early in the game and stayed consistent with it. Power forward, Nikola Jovanovic (11) and point guard, Jordan McLaughlin, (9) led the 1st half scoring pace that would eventually see three of their teammates join them in producing a double-figures game. The halftme score was (44-33), Trojans. The second half was all green lights for the Trojans as they dominated the Huskies with more points in the paint, (40-34) and second chance points (22-20). Per Coach Enfield’s post-game comments, “they were major differences in securing the victory.” In addition, the Trojans shot a sizzling 51.7% from the field, shot 86.5% from the free throw line, and won the battle of the boards by (42-36). At the end of the day, it all added up to another highly coveted win in PAC-12 play.
Player Game Stat Line: #32 Nikola Jovanovic/JR/F/28 pts/5 rebs/1 asst/1 stl/32 mins; #11 Jordan McLaughlin/SO/PG/21 pts/7 rebs/5 assts/2 stls/32 mins; #25 Bennie Boatwright/FR/F/15 pts/8 rebs/22 mins; #5 Katin Reinhardt/JR/G/11 pts/2 rebs/1 asst/1 blk/31 mins; and #30 Elijah Stewart/SO/G/10 pts/2 rebs/2 assts/1 blk/25 mins.
Credits: Jordan Hamilton, NCAA.Com; USCTrojans.Com; PAC12.Com; Erik Sarni, Video, Go Pro Cam & Photo Gallery.
Photo Gallery Viewing Tip: Hover over selected picture and click once for an enhanced image.