Category Archives: USC

This Comeback Falls Short For USC

March 19, 2017

The Trojans NCAA tournament run came to an end on Sunday night against Baylor, after losing 82-78 in the round of 32.

Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and King McClure added 17, as the Bears advanced to the Sweet 16 to play South Carolina.

Chimezie Metu scored 28 points and Bennie Boatwright had 16, as the Trojans bid to make their first Sweet 16 since 2007 fell short.

A four-point play from Manu Lecompte put Baylor up 69-67, and was his first points of the game.  He then scored 8 points in 45 seconds to give the Bears a 73-67 lead.  Lecompte would finish the game with 12 points, and all of them coming in the final five minutes.

Metu summed it up nicely.  “Lecomte,” forward Chimezie Metu said. “Or whatever his name is.”  “He kind of took over in the last couple minutes,”

USC had won 13 games after trailing by double figures.  They nearly did it again.  The Trojans scored 10 points unanswered in a run that started the end of the first half and the start of the second. 1:16 into the second half, the score was tied.

“This was a game that was there for the taking if we would have executed down the stretch,” USC Coach Andy Enfield said.

“I actually joked with Andy,” Baylor Coach Scott Drew said. “I said, ‘Do you want to be up at halftime?’ He said, ‘No, no, we like being down.’”

However, it was Lecomte who made the big plays in the final five minutes to help Baylor avoid the upset.

USC can’t be too disappointed with how their season turned out despite the loss.  The Trojans lost quite a bit of talent after last season, yet Enfield led the team to an unexpected run in the NCAA tournament.

Trojans Rally Again To Knock Off SMU

May 17, 2017

The Trojans pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA tournament on Friday, defeating #11 SMU 66-65 in Tulsa.

Elijah Stewart buried a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left, and the Mustang’s Shake Milton missed a floater at the buzzer, sending USC into the round of 32.

Stewart scored 22 points in the game, while Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu scored 14 apiece.  Semi Ojeleye had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Sterling Brown had 17 points for SMU,  which had won 16 straight coming into the game.

For the 2nd straight game USC rallied from a double digit deficit.  Throughout the entire game, they had the lead for just over a minute.  SMU built a lead as big as 12 points, and used a 14-3 run in the 1st half to take a 38-30 lead at halftime.  After the Trojans got a pair of 3-pointers from Boatwright and Stewart, the game was tied four minutes into the 2nd half.  However, SMU went on a 10-1 run, and looked like they would put the game out of reach.

Over the next 6 minutes, the Trojans would fight their way back, tying the game on a Stewart dunk with 7:33 left.  It wasn’t until Boatwright’s 3-pointer with just over two minutes left that gave USC their first lead of the game.

Even after Stewart’s big 3-pointer in the final minute, the Mustangs had their chance.  SMU’s Ben Moore drew a foul with 12 seconds left, and his team down by 1.  However, he missed the first half of a one-and-one foul shot.  Chimezie Metu was fouled after that, but missed his free throw as well, setting the stage for Milton’s final opportunity.  Milton’s shot bounced off the rim and the Trojans prevailed.

USC now moves on to take on the #3 seed Baylor Bears on Sunday.



Trojans Rally Past Providence To Advance

March 16th, 2017

USC came back from a 17 point deficit in Dayton on Wednesday night to defeat Providence 75-71, in a First Four game and advance in the NCAA tournament.

Bennie Boatwright scored a career-high 24 points and the Trojans got some payback for losing to Providence at the buzzer in last year’s opening round of the tournament.

The Friars used a 15-0 run and a stifling zone defense in the 1st half to jump out to a 44-29 lead at halftime.

However, USC would put together a furious comeback and close the deficit to five points by the 10-minute mark.  Chimezie Metu finally gave the Trojans the lead with under 7 minutes left after making a jump shot.  Metu finished the game with 15 points and 8 rebounds.

The big surprise of the night was freshman Nick Rakocevic, the 6’11 forward scored 9 points off the bench in 19 minutes, but provided a great deal of energy for USC to feed off of and get back in the game.  He also had the best plus-minus in the game, finishing with a +10.

“This win’s probably his,” guard Elijah Stewart said. “Honestly, we should be at the crib right now.”

After digging themselves a whole in the first half, USC coach Andy Enfield fired up his players, but was also displeased according to several of them.

“I think it’s just — give Coach a heart attack or something,” Rakocevic said. “I don’t really know why we do it.”  According to Elijah Stewart, Enfield said “What are you scared of?”

It turns out in the 2nd half they weren’t scared of anything.  The Trojans will now face #6 SMU in the opening round of the tournament on Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  USC defeated SMU earlier in the season, but they’ll be facing a much improved team since then.



Trojans Beat Huskies & Get Bruins Next

March 8th, 2017

The Trojans got a scare in their Pac 12 Tournament 1st round matchup against Washington on Wednesday night.  However, USC managed to get by the Hustkies, 78-73 in Vegas, likely securing themselves an NCAA tournament bid.

Chimezie Metu had 24 points and 9 rebounds to lead the way for USC.  The Trojans we’re able to overcome a slow start and a sloppy finish.  The Huskies came out out fast, as Matisse Thybulle hit three straight 3-pointers, helping Washington jump out to a 37-27 lead.  Thybulle scored 14 points and had to step up in the absence of freshman star Markelle Fultz.

However, the Trojans switched to a zone defense and Metu helped spark a 10-2 run to end the 1st half.  USC took over in the 2nd half, sparked by two straight dunks from Metu, along with four straight free throws from Bennie Boatwright, who scored 13 points on the night.  The Trojans found themselves with a 14 point lead.

The Huskies wouldn’t go away though, and put a scare in the Trojans in the final minutes.  Up seven points with 45 seconds left, USC avoided disaster on a missed three-pointer by Washington that would’ve tied the score.

“I thought our players did a great job of coming back,” USC Coach Andy Enfield said. “We have to play smarter offense, We have to come out of the gate and play well.”

USC was the second-to-last team in the field in the bracket of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi on Wednesday morning.  This win should certainly further strengthen their position.  However, cross-town rival UCLA awaits them on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

For the third season in a row, the Bruins and Trojans will meet in Vegas in the conference tournament.  USC split two games with UCLA this season, but the last matchup was a 102-70 Bruins win.  The Bruins are looking to secure a #1 seed in next week’s NCAA tournament, in the West Region.  Meanwhile, the Trojans would most certainly cement their at-large bid if they are able to beat the Bruins again.

Trojans Snap Skid

March 1st, 2017

USC got a much needed win on Wednesday night.  The Trojans took down Washington State 87-64 at the Galen Center.  Jordan McLaughlin had 16 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds to lead the way for Southern Cal.

The Trojans had four players in double figures and opened up a 20 point lead by halftime.  Much of that was the result of outscoring the Cougars 17-0 off of turnovers.

USC used a zone defense for much of the night to frustrate Washington State.  They were up by as many as 28 points in the 2nd half.  McLaughlin fell one rebound short of just the second triple-double in USC history.

WSU was led by Robert Franks, who scored 20 points off the bench for the Cougars.  The win snapped a 4 game losing skid for the Trojans, who also received 15 points from Chimezie Metu, and 14 points from Bennie Boatwright.

USC will wrap up the regular season on Saturday afternoon against Washington, at the Galen Center.

Trojans Let One Get Away

February 26th, 2017

The USC men’s hoops team looked like they had this one in the bag, but Arizona State shocked the Trojans in the final 30 seconds.  The Sun Devils defeated the Trojans 83-82 on Sunday in Tempe.

The Sun Devils rallied from 6 points down in the final 30 seconds, capped off by Tra Holders two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to play.

Trailing 82-76, Holder made a layup with 28 seconds left.  USC’s Elijah Stewart missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kodi Justice followed with a 3-pointer to cut the Trojan lead to 82-71 with just 14 seconds left.

Then the improbable happened.  Bennie Boatwright  turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, which resulted in Holder driving the lane and getting fouled.  He made two free throws, and just like that the Sun Devils were up 83-82.  Boatwright had one final chance to win it, but his 3-pointer missed at the buzzer.

USC Coach Andy Enfield wasn’t as concerned with the final play.  “That play shouldn’t have determined the game.  We missed open shots, turned the ball over,” He said.  “We were up eight and just threw it to the other team, we missed a front-end of a one-on-one, we missed a right-hand layup and we missed another free-throw.”

Justice scored a career-high 22 points, including 6 three-pointers.  Boatwright led the way for USC with 22 points of his own, but it wasn’t enough.

The Trojans lost their fourth in a row, and fell to 8-8 in Pac 12 play.  USC will try to snap out of their slump next week against the Washington schools, before traveling to Vegas for the Pac 12 Tournament.


Trojans Hot Early But Wildcats Hotter Late

February 23rd, 2017

The Trojans looked poised for an upset of #4 Arizona in the 1st half on Thursday night.  However, Lonzo Trier scored a season high 25 points, which included four three-pointers, as Arizona defeated USC 90-77.  The win keeps the Wildcats in 1st place in the Pac 12, and completes a season sweep of the Trojans.

Bennie Boatwright scored 23 points and Chimezie Metu had 15 for USC.  It wasn’t enough though, as the Trojans lost their third in a row to the top three teams in the conference.

USC was shooting 58% at point in the 1st half, yet only led by only 9 points.  The Wildcats closed the half on a 12-2 run, and took a 44-39 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Arizona pulled away in the 2nd half, leading by as many as 16 points.  USC finished the game shooting 52% from the field, but the difference in the game was the 11 three-pointers the Wildcats hit, and the Trojans 14 turnovers.

USC will try to get back in the win column on Saturday at Arizona State.  The Trojans took down the Sun Devils at home last month, and will be going for the season sweep.

The Trojans are fading in the Pac 12 standings, but should be in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament.  They’ll need to build some momentum though heading into the Pac 12 Tournament in two weeks.

Trojans Fall To Oregon

February 11th, 2017

Tyler Dorsey hit two three pointers in the final 3 minutes of the game, and #5 Oregon defeated USC for the 14th straight time, 81-70 on Saturday night.


Chimezi Metsu scored 16 points for the Trojans, while Bennie Boatwright and Elijah Stewart had 15 in a losing effort. Turnovers were a problem for USC. They committed 16, which comes after committing 17 in their 1st game against the Ducks this season.


USC took their first lead of the game early in the 2nd half, and a Boatwright 3-point play gave the Trojans a 50-46 lead.


However, the Ducks went on a 22-8 run, which gave them a 68-58 lead, led by the strong play of star Dillon Brooks. Brooks scored 21 points before fouling out, while Dorsey added 19.


It was a tough shooting night for the Trojans. Boatwright was only 3-15 from the field, and 1-9 from behind the 3-point line. As a team, USC shot just 37% in the game.


Oregon’s win streak is its longest ever against the Trojans, and the Ducks’ longest against any Pac 12 opponent.   They also held on to second place in the Pac 12, keeping pace with Arizona, who defeated Cal on Saturday night.


The Trojans now have a week until their next game at UCLA on February 18th. USC upset the Bruins last month, which extended their winning streak to four straight games over their crosstown rivals.

Trojans Crushed & Kiffin Canned


Kiffin hands

September 29th, 2013

You knew it was coming.  You just didn’t think it would be so sudden, or this season.  Lane Kiffin was fired as head coach of the USC Football team on Sunday morning.  This firing came after the Trojans were spanked at Arizona State 62-41, dropping their record to 3-2 on the season, and 0-2 in Pac-12 play.  Kiffin will be replaced by defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, on an interim basis.

Let’s start with the on-field disaster first.  The Trojans actually looked decent for the first 20 minutes or so, taking a 14-7 lead on a rushing touchdown from Justin Davis, and a big TD reception from Tre Madden.  However, things got ugly shortly after that.  The Sun Devils closed the 2nd quarter with an 11 yard touchdown pass by Taylor Kelly to Marion Grice, and then followed that up with a pair of field goals to take a 20-14 lead into the locker room.  Although Madden put USC ahead with an early touchdown in the 3rd, ASU pounded the Trojans from there.  The Sun Devils would score two touchdowns 47 seconds apart, which included an interception thrown by Cody Kessler, which was returned 46 yards for a touchdown.

Davis and Madden tried to rally the Trojans, as each of them found the end zone again, but the defense couldn’t stop Taylor Kelly, who racked up 351 yards, and 3 touchdown passes.  Sun Devils running back Marion Grice also scored 4 touchdowns, and USC gave up a whopping 612 yards in total offense.  A shocking amount for a team, whose strength was supposed to be its defense.  At least the offense was consistent though.  Consistently terrible that is.  The Trojans had more turnovers than Betty Crocker, giving it up 4 times, including two interceptions thrown by Kessler.

So the Trojans lost, and once they returned to Los Angeles, athletic director Pat Haden informed Kiffin he would be relieved of his duties.  This occurred at the airport terminal, but not before Kiffin tried to change Haden’s mind during a 45 minute meeting.  Haden had actually met with a few advisors during the ASU game, which was when he reached his decision, according to the LA Daily  News.  “I haven’t felt particularly good even from the Hawaii game,” said Haden.  “I just felt like we haven’t been the consistent team that we need to be at USC.”

Kiffin’s compiled a record of 28-15 overall during his 4 seasons at USC, but they were filled with turmoil and off the field distractions.  He was hampered by sanctions that were handed down by the NCAA just a few months before taking the job, which cost the school thirty scholarships over three years, and two years without a bowl appearance.  The end of the 2011 season looked promising, and USC looked poised for a run at a national championship at the beginning of 2012, when they were the pre-season #1 ranked team in the AP Poll.  However, the Trojans finished a disappointing 7-6, including losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame, and a loss in the Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech.

More than anything, Kiffin demonstrated that he could recruit great talent, but that talent seemed to regress over time.  Matt Barkley looked great in his first couple of years, but by his senior year, Kiffin appeared to crush his confidence, which ultimately ruined his NFL draft position.  Robert Woods emerged as a great wide receiver in his sophomore year, but by his junior year, Kiffin stopped utilizing him.  This year, Kiffin has found a way to stunt the growth of quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, while failing to consistently utilize the talents of talented wide receiver Marqise Lee.

This doesn’t even mention all the off the field turmoil that Kiffin brought to the program.  He closed practice to the media, he gave up his vote in the coaches poll after some public drama with another Pac-12 coach, and more recently, he lied to the media about a players only meeting taking place.  Kiffin has also been known to simply rub people the wrong way.  He was not well received in Tennessee, and lasted only twenty games with the Oakland Raiders, and even feuded publicly with owner Al Davis, before being dismissed.

So where does this leave the USC Football team? Considering the timing of the decision, I think even Pat Haden thinks this season is over.  There’s still 8 games left in the Trojans season.  However, this was a smart decision, because it gives the Trojans time to save their recruiting class, and to take their time finding an elite head coach.  USC also doesn’t play until October 10th against Arizona as well, so Ed Orgeron will have plenty of time to prepare.

So where will this elite coach come from?  I think most Trojan fans are hoping for Rams coach Jeff Fisher, or Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, both of whom are alums.  The big issue with both of these coaches is the timing that the NFL season finishes, and them taking over a college program.  I would imagine that there would be some interest from both of these guys, and USC would love to re-produce what they had in the Pete Caroll era with another NFL guy.  Some other possibilities could include Kevin Sumlin, Bobby Petrino, or even Chris Peterson.  The Trojans have their work cutout for them in order to rebuild the program, but they definitely took some steps in the right direction today.


Trojans Bounce Back

Cody Kessler

September 14th, 2013

What a difference a starting quarterback decision makes.  The Trojans hammered Boston College on Saturday at the Coliseum by a score of 35-7, to improve to 2-1 on the season, and rebound from an ugly loss last week to Washington State.  It appears for now, USC alums can put away their pitchforks and tiki torches.

After Lane Kiffin finally named Cody Kessler the starting quarterback, he performed much better. Kessler completed 15 of 17 passes for 237 yards, and 2 touchdown passes.  One of his two incomplete passes was on the first SC drive of the game, where he over threw Marquise Lee on a long pass, which actually got a standing ovation from USC fans.  The fans were obviously happy to see Kiffin take the leash off his quarterback, and stop micromanaging his players.  Kessler connected with Tre Madden late in the 1st quarter for a 5 yard touchdown pass.  Then in the 2nd quarter, he hit Lee for an 80 yard touchdown pass, and USC was up 14-0 at halftime.

Southern Cal’s running game took over in the 2nd half, as Madden and Justin Davis got loose for long touchdown runs.  Max Wittek finished things off with a 2 yard touchdown run late in the 4th as well.   For Madden, it was his 3rd straight game rushing for over 100 yards, which made him the 1st Trojan player in 32 years to open the season with such a feat.

The Trojan defense had another strong performance.   The Eagles were held to just 184 yards in total offense.  Although they didn’t force any turnovers, the SC defense was finally supported by an offense that had over 36 minutes of possession time, which kept them off the field and well rested.

Kiffin and the Trojans seem to have stabilized the situation for the time being.  He’s also stabilized the quarterback position by committing to Kessler, which seemed to give the sophomore a renewed sense of confidence.  This may be somewhat surprising to some fans, who were speculating that Kiffin may have had a players mutiny on his hands.  Several players mentioned to the media that they had called a players only meeting, but Kiffin tried to deny that this every took place, which fueled this speculation.

Pat Haden is still watching Kiffin closely.  The Trojans still committed over 100 yards in penalties,  which is typical of a team that lacks coaching discipline.  They’ll get another chance to further stabilize things next week against Utah State at the Coliseum.  In the meantime, hopefully Kiffin won’t create any more drama.