Men’s Basketball | December 06, 2021
The No. 16/No. 15 USC Trojans (8-0, 2-0) will kick-off a three-game homestand by hosting Eastern Kentucky (5-4) at the Galen Center on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The game will air on the Pac-12 Network with J.B Long and Don MacLean calling the action. USC is 8-0 to start the season for the first time since 2017, when USC opened the campaign 14-0. The Trojans are one of 12 undefeated teams still remaining in college basketball. USC debuts at No. 7 in the NET this week, the chief rankings used for the NCAA Tournament selection and seeding.
WINNING WAYS –– USC had a 47-17 record the last two seasons which ranked third among all of the schools in the six power basketball conferences (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, AAC and the Pac-12). The Trojans went 25-8 during the 2020-21 season and have won 20 or more games in five of the last six seasons under Andy Enfield. The 25 wins last season were tied for the second most in school history, one behind the USC record of 26 wins set in 2017 (26-10). USC’s 134 wins in the last six seasons were tied for 15th among all of the Power 6 conference schools.
FACING EASTERN KENTUCKY — The Eastern Kentucky Colonels (5-4) are coming off back-to-back-to back tough road losses at West Virginia (80-77) on Nov. 26, at Radford (88-75) on Nov. 28 and at Western Kentucky (85-80) on Dec. 4. EKU has three players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by forwards Jannson Williams (13.1 ppg) and Michael Moreno (13.1 ppg). The Colonels have hit 13 or more three-pointers in seven of their first nine games and hit a season-best 18 at WKU on Dec. 4. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
TROJANS SHOW GRIT IN ROAD WIN AT WSU — Chevez Goodwin completed a three-point play with 16 seconds left to lead USC to a hard-fought 63-61 win at Washington State on Dec. 4 in its Pac-12 road opener. There were seven lead changes and seven ties in the game. After an Isaiah Mobley three-pointer tied the game at 54 with just over 4 minutes remaining, the Trojans and Cougars traded two-point baskets until a Drew Peterson turnaround jumper put USC up 60-58 with 51 seconds remaining. WSU’s TJ Bamba then hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left for a 61-60 lead, setting up Goodwin’s heroics. Max Agbonkpolo blocked Noah Williams’ shot with 6 seconds remaining, then after a missed FT by Josh Morgan, Williams well-defended forced shot at the buzzer fell short. It was USC’s 11th consecutive win against WSU. Goodwin led USC with 14 points and Peterson added 13. USC trailed 32-30 at the break, its first time all season behind at halftime.
LONG BEACH STATE ON DECK — Long Beach State (2-6) will host Bethesda on Dec. 8 before facing USC at the Galen Center on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. LBSU is coming off a tough home loss to LMU on Dec. 4 by a score of 77-74. Three LBSU players are averaging in double figures in points, led by guard Joel Murray at 17.0 points per game. USC is 10-6 all-time against Long Beach State, winning the last meeting 87-76 on December 15 2019.
BIG MEN, BIG NUMBERS — Big men Isaiah Mobley and Chevez Goodwin have been at the forefront of USC’s success so far this season. Mobley is averaging justt short of a double-double with 12.9 points per game and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per contest. He currently ranks 37th in the country in rebounds per game. Goodwin is the Trojans’ third leading scorer with 12.4 points per game and is second on the team with 7.1` rebounds per game. Goodwin’s 65.6 shooting percentage is best among USC’s players with at least five shots attempted. He also ranks third among Pac-12 players in shooting percentage. Mobley ranks second and Goodwin seventh among Pac-12 players in rebounds per game.
I’M YOUR BOOGIE MAN — Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis has been one of USC’s top two scorers in six of the eight games this season, currently averaging a team-best 14.0 points per game. Ellis leads the Trojans in three-pointers made (13), is second in minutes played (240), tied for second in steals (7) and is third in free throws made (13). The junior guard has started all eight games this season for USC and has scored at least 17 points in five of them. Ellis averaged 10.2 points per game and was the AAC co-Sixth Man of the Year last season at Memphis.
PROTECT AND SERVE — The Trojans have 127 assists and 71 turnovers this season for a 1.79 assist to turnover ratio, fifth in the country. USC’s 8.9 turnovers per game are the sixth-fewest among Division I teams.
THE MAGIC MARK — With its 63-61 win at Washington State on Dec. 4, USC is now 95-5 in its last 100 games when holding the opposition to under 70 points, dating back to Feb. 28, 2015. USC has held 30 of its last 44 opponents to under 70 points dating back to the 2019-20 season.
HAVING A DEFENSIVE EDGE — USC held WSU to 37.9 percent shooting on Dec. 4 and has held each of its opponent this season to under 40 percent shooting. For the season, USC has held the opposition to 35.2 percent shooting which ranks fifth in the country. Despite allowing WSU to make an opponent-high 40.0 percent from three-point range, USC has held the opposition to a 28.2 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.