The USC Trojans (10-8, 3-2 Pac-12) picked up a huge win against the UCLA Bruins (10-8, 3-2 Pac-12) Saturday afternoon at the Galen Center. The Trojans won 80-67 in a matchup that featured two teams that have performed well below expectations this year. Here are three takeaways from USC’s big win:
Bennie Boatwright is back to being “Bennie Buckets”
Last year, Bennie Boatwright suffered a left knee injury that ended his 2017-2018 season. Almost a year later, he balled out against crosstown rival UCLA scoring 21 points on 5-9 shooting from the three-point line while adding seven rebounds and three assists. Boatwright was one of the key catalysts of the second half run that the Trojans went on that saw them extend their three-point halftime lead to 22 points at one point. The Men of Troy are going to need Boatwright to keep playing like “Bennie Buckets” if they have any hopes of making the Big Dance this year.
Trojans shot well from deep
In a game where a total of 51 threes were attempted, the Trojans shot well from deep converting 12 of 29 threes for a crisp 41.4 percent. It was the shooting by guard Jonah Matthews that was particularly impressive. Matthews scored eight of his 16 points in the second half including two crucial threes on back to back possessions to put the game to rest and seal the win for the Trojans. It was a night where the ball just seemed to find the net for the Trojans and I don't think any three better exemplifies this than this bank shot by Matthews in the first half:
The wealth was spread
The one thing that was most evident tonight was the amount of times the Trojans were able to have a pass lead to an easy bucket. On the year, the Trojans are averaging 16 assists per game. In this game, they had a season-high 26 assists and it made all the difference. Each starter for the Trojans had at least three assists in the game with senior guard Shaqquan Aaron leading the way with seven. It seems like the key to winning games for the Trojans this year is to spread the ball around as much as possible, with the team now improving to 11-0 when they have 16 or more assists in a game. USC was able come out with a victory to end the four game losing streak they had against the Bruins because of plays like these: