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USC rolls previous Utah and places collectively a whole recreation


The first two months of this basketball season had but to provide many efforts from USC that coach Andy Enfield would possibly enterprise to name “complete.” Often, it was protection that carried the day, clinging on whereas an inconsistent offense labored to search out its footing.

Twice within the final two weeks alone, these uneven efforts had come again to chunk the Trojans, dealing them losses in two of their final three. But with probably the most troublesome stretch of the schedule coming over the following two weeks, USC managed to place all of the items collectively unexpectedly in a 71-56 win over Utah on Saturday evening.

There have been not one of the normal lengthy lapses on offense, as USC shot 48% from the sector and guarded the ball (10 turnovers). It gained comfortably on the glass (41-28). It was higher behind the arc (44% to 32%).

And its protection, after a considerably sluggish begin, put Utah into submission within the second half. Altogether, it proved to be a fairly potent mixture, one which the Trojans hope they’ll proceed constructing on.

“We’ve really improved offensively, especially the last couple weeks,” Enfield mentioned. “We’re right there. We have a ways to go getting some guys who need to improve certain things. But really proud of our effort.”

Boogie Ellis led the way in which as soon as once more, scoring 17 factors on an environment friendly seven-for-13 taking pictures. He turned the ball over simply as soon as Saturday, his solely turnover over the past two video games. It was one other vital step for the senior, who’d set out in current weeks to take higher care of the ball.

The Trojans’ Tre White, who completed with 13 factors, reacts after scoring in the course of the second half.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Enfield additionally had tasked his staff with taking part in higher on the boards, the place USC had been susceptible to sluggish stretches, particularly firstly of video games. The similar sample seemed to be taking part in out Saturday, as Utah reeled in seven of the evening’s first eight rebounds.

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“We had some things to say in the first media timeout,” Enfield mentioned of the hassle on the glass.

Whatever he mentioned positive snapped the Trojans to consideration. USC outrebounded Utah 40-22 from there.

Every side of USC’s plans appeared to come back to fruition, as soon as it lastly received settled. After Utah’s expert 7-footer Branden Carlson caught hearth within the first half, scoring 17, he was fully ineffective within the second, as soon as USC began switching on screens, taking away his pick-and-pop alternatives. Carlson scored the primary 4 factors after halftime, then by no means scored once more.

“We fixed those small things, and I feel like we shut him down,” freshman Tre White mentioned.

It would take a staff effort to soar previous the Utes. White opened the sport 5 for 5 from the sector and completed with 13 factors. Center Josh Morgan snagged 10 rebounds, his most since November. Even five-star freshman Vince Iwuchukwu, taking part in in simply his second recreation after getting back from a sudden cardiac arrest episode in the summertime, confirmed indicators of enchancment.

“He will get better,” Enfield mentioned. “His cardio with more playing time, more practice, running up and down the court. He’s going to be stronger and be able to play more minutes.”

If Saturday is any indication, USC is getting higher too. A powerful win over Utah actually appeared compelling proof of that.

And as a visit to Arizona and a return assembly with UCLA loom, that proof couldn’t have come at a greater time.


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