The USC Trojans found their shooting touch all night long disposing of the Cal State Northridge Matadors 95-79 in head coach Andy Enfield's home opener.
"It was a good team win. We produced offense from the bench unlike Friday in Utah. Northridge is well coached, aggressive. And we did what we had to do in the second half to win," said Enfield.
Enfield changed things up in the starting lineup, inserting sophomore Chass Bryan and freshmen Roschon Prince and Julian Jacobs alongside traditional starters Omar Oraby and Byron Wesley.
This was largely the case because leading scorer J.T. Terrell did not start due to what Enfield called "academic problems in the classroom." Adding that playing time is not guaranteed on this team and that you must earn your spot not only on but also off the court.
That move gave the squad a much deeper rotation on the court with 12 players seeing time and all of them scoring at least two points. The offense was led by Oraby, who finished the night scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.
Thanks to the efforts from the seven footer, the Trojans (1-1) were also able to dominate 50-26 on points in the paint thus eliminating one of the Matadors' greatest strengths on the offensive end of the court.
"We have a long way to go," Enfield said about his defense after holding Northridge (1-1) to 33-percent shooting from the field.
Northridge trimmed an 11-point first half lead down to four points with 12:22 remaining in the game, but that was as close as the Matadors got. USC ran away with the game afterwards, using a 26-7 run over a nearly seven-minute span.
That run came in large part thanks to the contributions of Terrell, who connected on two crucial three-point attempts.
Thanks in large part some great ball distribution, the Trojans assisted on 24 of their 36 made baskets from the field. On the night, USC shot 57.1 percent from the field in both the first and second halves, largely fueling the historic 95-point effort.
While he didn't shoot great from the floor once again, Wesley did a little bit of everything for the Trojans. He finished with 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting, but even more impressive was his career-high 11 rebounds and six assists -- one shy of tying his career high.
"I know that when my shots not falling, I can do a lot of other stuff on the court," Wesley said. "They were kind of killing us on the offensive rebounds, so I just wanted to make an impact on the rebounds and I'm always looking to get my teammates involved
Jacobs seemed to have shook the jitters from his first college game. He looked much more confident as he collected nine points on 3-of-5 shooting and added seven assists and two rebounds, garnering major praise from Enfield for his breakout performance.
One of the key lesser known contributors off the bench was sophomore guard Brendyn Taylor, who played a crucial role in the Trojans offensive efforts behind the arc notching two three-point splashes in a matter of moments.
Joining him among the ranks of unsung heroes was freshman Nikola Jovanovic who made the most of his 16 minutes of action, scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
USC was also able to apply pressure on defense by utilizing a 1-2-2 half court trap for much of the second half. While the Matadors only committed 11 turnovers, the heavy ball pressure forced easy transition points (14) the other way.
Enfield's opener also featured some "Lob City" drama from Wesley feeding Jacobs for an emphatic slam right in front of the student section during the first half. In this winning effort, USC scored the most points in a game since 2008 in a 98-point effort against Oregon State.
The Trojans have now won six consecutive home openers and 16 of the last 19 overall. Another interesting tidbit from the game was that the 12-man rotation from Enfield featured 103 minutes (of the possible 200) logged by underclassmen.