by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
LOS ANGELES – After trailing for the majority of the night, the USC Trojans were able to rally in the second half sparked by a huge 13-2 run in a 70-68 defeat over the LSU Tigers this past weekend at Staples Center during the Hall of Fame Classic.
The Trojans (10-2) continued their brilliant start to the season, showing there is more than one way to skin a cat; in this case win a basketball game.
USC had five players score in double figures led by senior guard Jonah Mathews who scored 15 points and helped get the rally started in the second half. Nick Rakocevic scored 14 points, Onyeka Okongwu and Daniel Utomi scored 10 points each.
An unlikely hero in this game was freshman Ethan Anderson, who overcame early shooting woes to score 11 points while hitting a big three-pointer to give the Trojans the lead for good late in the second half.
On a night where some of the main options struggled, USC essentially adopted a “next-man-up” mentality and Anderson answered the call.
Head coach Andy Enfield seemed to expect this kind of clutch performance from Anderson.
“That’s what I expect as a head coach, our staffs expect that, his teammates expect that – to come in and play like he did down the stretch, because he’s a heck of a basketball player,” Enfield told reporters.
The Trojans have shown they could beat teams in a variety of ways through the early part of this season and Saturday night was no different. As LSU packed the paint against the talented USC front court, it forced them to make perimeter shots.
While three-point shooting hasn’t been a strength for USC, they made 11 threes compared to just three for the Tigers, a major reason for the win.
As conference play nears, the Trojans are going to be a tough out. Whether it’s their size, depth, versatility, or improved shooting, this team is going to find different ways to skin that cat.