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USC 3-Pointer: Trojans Get Big Win at New Mexico

It was a double-double type of day for USC and New Mexico.

Andy Enfield has to get Katin Reinhardt not to try to do too much.
Andy Enfield has to get Katin Reinhardt not to try to do too much.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In their first true road game this season, USC men's basketball got it done in a hostile environment, winning 66-54 at The Pit in New Mexico.

Nikola Jovanovic and Darion Clark both recorded double-doubles for the second straight game and the Trojans held New Mexico senior Hugh Greenwood scoreless.

Here are the USC Trojans/New Mexico Lobos' highlights:

And here's the Trojans' 3-pointer of noteworthy things from the win over the Titans:

1. Taking Care of the Ball

Turnovers were the major concern for an extremely young -- the fourth youngest roster in the nation, according to the CBS Sports Network telecast -- USC squad in the first three games. The Trojans turned the ball over nearly 19 times per game, losing to Portland State and getting blown out by Akron along the way. But since then, they have taken care of the ball really well, turning it over an average of only 11 times per game in the last four games.

On Sunday, USC only gave the ball away nine times -- just three in the first half -- and won the turnover margin, forcing 12 New Mexico giveaways. It all started with USC's two primary ballhandlers, Jordan McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs. The Trojans' leading scorer this season, McLaughlin, only had eight points on 2-of-7 shooting, but he had seven assists to just one turnover. In USC's four wins, McLaughlin has six combined turnovers. In the three losses, he has seven total turnovers.

Jacobs wasn't the first player off the bench this game like he has been in the three games he hasn't started, but he made his impact all over the court. He dished out four assists to only one turnover and he finished with 10 points with another efficient shooting performance (3-for-5).

Jordan McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs also hooked up for the game's biggest highlight on a rim-rocking alley-oop connection in a halfcourt set.

2. More Double-Doubles Than In-N-Out

For the second game in a row, USC post players Nikola Jovanovic and Darion Clark recorded double-doubles and did a lot of work against a bigger front line that featured 7'1" South Sudan native Obij Aget.

In just 24 minutes due to some first half foul trouble, Jovanovic finished with a career-high 16 rebounds. Seven of those were on the offensive end, but at least three of those came when Jovanovic regained control after having his shot blocked.

He continued to struggle with his shooting percentage, finishing 4-for-11 and an even worse 2-for-6 on free throw attempts, but he mustered 10 points, including a big bucket with two seconds remaining in the first half to give the Trojans a two-point advantage at halftime. Jovanovic also had five points in USC's 9-1 run that broke a tie and pushed the Trojans ahead late in the second half.

Darion Clark scored the first four points of the game to put USC up early and he also showed his versatility with his plethora of post moves and face up, short jumpers. The Trojans' most consistent player this season, quietly posted 12 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. Clark did have three of the Trojans' nine turnovers. He also blocked two shots to tie him with Jovanovic for the team lead on the season.

The Lobos also got good production down low as Obij Aget and Devon Williams both had double-doubles as well. Aget had 11 and 10. Williams scored New Mexico's first eight points and led all scorers with 15 points. He grabbed 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

3. Trying Too Hard

Both New Mexico point guard Hugh Greenwood and USC shooting guard Katin Reinhardt struggled mightily. Both players entered averaging double figures, yet neither scored.

Greenwood, who led the Lobos with 17 points the last time the two teams met in 2012, entered the game averaging 13.2 points this season, but he couldn't buy a bucket. USC played a lot of zone defense and packed it in forcing New Mexico to shoot from the perimeter. Greenwood got some good looks, but he finished 0-for-11 from the field, including nine misses from beyond the arc.

Possibly even worse for New Mexico, Greenwood didn't do much to help set things up for his teammates. He finished with two assists and two turnovers. He contributed a rebound, a steal and a block, but that wasn't nearly enough for a team that needed Greenwood to step up with leading scorer Cullen Neal out with a sprained ankle.

USC had its own issues with a top playmaker. Playing against former Mountain West Conference rival New Mexico when he was a freshman at UNLV, Reinhardt averaged 11.3 points in three games, but he never shot well (12-for-39 combined). On Sunday, it wasn't just that he was missing, but that Reinhardt was taking ill-advised shots. He finished 0-for-8 from the floor, including three long-distance misses. The redshirt sophomore had multiple airballs and turned the ball over three times.

The Trojans need Katin Reinhardt shooting and playmaking ability to succeed once USC gets into Pac-12 play. That all starts with him not trying to do too much, even when playing against a former conference rival.

***And the Foul!

4. Freshman Standing Out

With Malik Martin out with a bruised knee, the Trojans are down to three freshmen, but don't expect there to be a big drop off in production. Elijah Stewart has moved into the starting lineup recently and Malik Marquetti as Andy Enfield's first substitute on Sunday. Both freshmen produced career highs in their first true road game.

Despite some foul trouble, Stewart had 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Marquetti did his damage in the first half with seven points and knocked down his first career 3-pointer. He also had a big offensive rebound and putback to end New Mexico's 13-2 run late in the first half that helped them erase an early 10-point deficit.