USC Sets Stage for Another Huge Game at Pauley

USC Jumps Back Hard and Blows Out Outmanned Stanford

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  LOS ANGELES — There’s nothing quite like an empty-the-bench blowout to get a team back on track.

In its home finale, the USC men’s basketball team buried Stanford, 79-42, in a win that was important both practically and mentally for the Trojans (20-6 overall, 14-5 in Pac-12 play).

It came after a stretch of four games in one week that left USC “flat-out exhausted,” coach Andy Enfield said.

“I never make excuses when we lose games,” Enfield said, “but when I went back and watched the second half of the Utah game, it looked like we were moving at 50% speed.”

On the practical side, USC kept alive its hopes of a regular-season Pac-12 title, though it will need to beat UCLA on Saturday and hope Oregon State upsets Oregon a day later to achieve the goal.

And as for the mental, the victory – the Trojans’ most lopsided of the season – ended USC’s two-game losing streak and a stretch of three losses in four games, an important albatross to shake in the first game of the new month.

“Very important; March is here, so it’s good to come in with some positive energy,” said Chevez Goodwin, who made his first four shots to finish with eight points. “This is the time of year where make or break, if you lose you go home. So we had to get back on track.”

Everyone got in on the fun after videos from family members introduced the Trojan starting lineup.

Tahj Eaddy (2) led all scorers with 16 points and four 3-pointers. Drew Peterson, back in the starting lineup after three games off the bench, scored 15, grabbed nine rebounds and had six assists. Freshman big man Evan Mobley scored 10 and blocked a couple of shots. Max Agbonkpolo came off the bench with eight points.

By the end of the game, the reserves and walk-ons had taken over, with 5-foot-7 Amar Ross draining a 3-pointer as the starters strummed their air guitars on the bench.

It took two minutes for either team to score, and the Cardinal quickly matched Eaddy’s opening jumper. But that was the last point Stanford (14-12, 10-10) scored for the next 8:04.

The USC defense was playing with a different level of energy than it did during last week’s road trip to Colorado and Utah. The Trojans stayed in front of their opponents, contested every shot and swallowed up the rebounds before the Cardinal could get a second chance.

USC forced two shot-clock violations in the first half and limited Stanford to six field goals before halftime. Overall, USC limited the Cardinal to 25.4% shooting from the floor and forced 16 turnovers.

“They were talking and they made the right switches,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “I thought it was a complete effort.”

As the Stanford offense went into a coma, the Trojans broke off a 15-0 run. Peterson started it with a put-back dunk, one of three second-chance baskets in that stretch as USC dominated rebounding 45-27 in the game.

By the time Stanford scored again, on a free throw by former Loyola High forward James Keefe, the Trojans were operating at full force. Step-back 3-pointers by Eaddy. Dunks by the Mobley brothers. Jumpers from Peterson.

USC took a 19-point lead into halftime, and in case there was any doubt about which direction the game was headed, the Trojans hit four straight 3-pointers to start the second. A mid-range pull-up from Peterson made it a 50-19 advantage.

Stanford was woefully undermanned, to be sure. Leading scorer Oscar da Silva missed the game with a lower-body injury, and he was one of three rotation players who didn’t dress for the game.

But after last week’s lows, USC was happy to leave the Galen Center for the final time this season with a win. The team took Sunday off and had what Enfield described as two good days of practice before seeing it come together on the court.

“This was a great team win,” Enfield said. “It was nice to play better basketball here at home.”


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Mt Rushmore
March 5, 2021 6:48 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Browne was thrown to the wolves in 16. Here you go kid, go play Alabama and Stanford and after you get smashed to bits we will bring in the guy we want to start. I honestly believe that is how it went down. They protected Sam, who they knew was best, from the beating he would’ve taken to start his career. Then Browne gets hurt at Pitt. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But I think he will have a great career in football, he is a really bright guy and great communicator.

Diamond Member
March 5, 2021 10:44 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

You had to say it again Allen…. this “gentleman” Clay title you put on him. I think “cowardly” Clay is more realistic if there needs to be a moniker in front of his name. How many players has CH let down in his HC career by taking the easy way out in doing little or nothing in everything he has done from under recruiting to hiring friends-fired coaches-to changing the offense to a gimmick and even then failing to hire the right coaches to coach it. He can’t do anything without the help of others to bail him out. What… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jamaica
Mt Rushmore
March 5, 2021 6:00 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

He’s got one heck of a QB, that helps.

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy(@terrific-tommy)
March 6, 2021 9:49 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Damn Allen, during our hay-days, a TB would get 238 yards in one game. Oh, how the mighty have slipped. 😫

Knighted Member
March 4, 2021 7:17 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Say what you want Alan, but I believe Enfield has forgotten more about coaching Basketball than Clay will ever know about coaching football. I am not sure about Andy’s ” coaching” but he has upgraded the talent, without recruiting knuckleheads( sans Kevin Porter)
Overall, I think SC has benefitted in his tenure.

Diamond Member
March 4, 2021 9:16 am

Like clockwork, I root for sucla to win once every decade. But alas, the Midget-Bears could not hold on to a 9-point lead last night, and Oregon now has to lose to Oregon St, which could happen on the Beavers’ home court…. And if it does, and SC once again beats sucla, SC will have a higher winning percentage than the Uniform-Weird Ducks, and 2021 can move alongside 1961 and 1985 in Trojan basketball lore…. But first things first– Pauley Pavilion, kind of a magical place. Few Trojans have ever taken in a game at Pauley, but I have seen… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Mt Rushmore
Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
March 4, 2021 12:00 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

Rule number 1. Don’t punch anyone. Rule number 2. If you punch someone, don’t punch a lawyer!😂 Glad you were okay.

Noble Member
March 4, 2021 7:24 am

Unexpected big win but Stanford did not have their star center.
But have to like the balanced scoring and 21 assists.
This shows sharing the ball and ball movement. This was the big key missing.
And the defense was great. But it helped that Stanford cannot shoot like Colorado and Utah.
Peterson playing great was a huge factor. He can be the third scorer.
USC played like a team with team ball.
If this carries on it can only mean good things.
Nathan and Max looked good and played within themselves.