Sun, 23 Jan 2022

No. 20 Southern Cal puts unbeaten streak on line vs. Utah

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2021, 08:40 GMT+10

No. 20 Southern California will look to remain unbeaten when it opens Pac-12 play on Wednesday night against Utah in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (6-0) have won five games by double-digit margins as they follow last season's Elite Eight run in the NCAA Tournament.

USC is limiting opponents to 34.4percent shooting from the field and allowing just 58.3 points per game.

The Trojans were particularly impressive while winning the Wooden Legacy title last week as they recorded back-to-back 15-point wins over Saint Joseph's and San Diego State.

USC set a season best by limiting a good San Diego State team to 43 points. The Trojans won easily despite making just 6-of-18 free-throw attempts.

"We packed our toughness on the bus down here to Anaheim," USC coach Andy Enfield told reporters. "We didn't pack our free-throw shooting."

Isaiah Mobley recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Trojans and was named tournament MVP.

"I feel like a tournament win and a championship is always important," Mobley said. "We finished, we closed, and it's great going into conference (play)," Mobley said. "I'm proud of us, and we're going to keep on going."

Mobley ranks third on USC in scoring (12.2) and leads in rebounding (9.2). Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis averages a team-high 14.5 points, and Chevez Goodwin is chipping in 13.2 per outing.

Utah (5-1, 0-0) opened its season with five straight wins before falling to fierce rival BYU 75-64 on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

The Utes led 40-39 with less than 14 minutes to go before the Cougars used a 13-1 burst to open an 11-point lead and cruise to the victory.

"It felt like a March (Madness) game, and we saw what we have to do to win those physical games," Utah coach Craig Smith said afterward. "We played disjointed early, but we also had them disjointed."

BYU outrebounded Utah 45-28 and had a 48-28 edge in points in the paint.

Branden Carlson had a team-high 17 points and continues to be Utah's top player. He leads the Utes in scoring (15.7) and blocked shots (13) while averaging 7.0 rebounds and shooting a solid 55.6 percent from the field.

David Jenkins Jr. is the only other Utah player scoring in double digits. He is averaging 13.7 points and has made a team-best 18 3-pointers.

The Utes likely will be without backup big man Dusan Mahorcic, who left the BYU game with a knee injury. Utah hasn't announced an injury timetable, but Mahorcic was on crutches after his departure.

Leading rebounder Marco Anthony (ankle) sat out against the Cougars, and the expectation is that he will suit up against USC. Anthony averages 8.8 rebounds while contributing 6.4 points.

Rollie Worster added 13 points, six rebounds and five assists and Lazar Stefanovic registered 12 points against the Cougars.

USC won two of three from Utah last season, including a 91-85 double-overtime victory in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

--Field Level Media

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