USC beats San Diego 83-45
LOS ANGELES (AP) Third-year USC coach Andy Enfield said he expects his team to be much improved this season.
On Friday night the Trojans got off to a good start.
Jordan McLaughlin scored 20, Elijah Stewart added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Southern California cruised to an 83-45 victory over San Diego in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.
McLaughlin made 8 of 12, including two 3-pointers.
''It felt good to be out there again tonight,'' said McLaughlin who played his first game since two shoulder surgeries last spring. ''I felt very comfortable but I have to slow down my game a bit.''
Stewart shot 6 of 9 and recorded his first career double-double.
''Just getting more reps is making us a better basketball team,'' said Stewart. ''When we made more than three passes, we got open shots.''
Enfield was impressed with Stewart and McLaughlin's performances.
''Elijah is a good ball handler and he's a big time athlete,'' said Enfield whose team has a combined 23-41 record in his first two seasons at USC. ''We need him to play like that on a consistent basis and I was impressed how Jordan made 8 of 12 shots and I was really impressed how his teammates got him the ball for good shots. It was a great team effort.''
USC went on a 15-3 run midway through the first half to build a comfortable advantage. Nikola Jovanovic's basket capped the Trojans surge and gave USC a 25-9 lead with 9:13 to play in the first half.
USC's defense caused problems for San Diego in the first half, blocking seven shots and limiting the Toreros to 6-of-29 shooting (20.7 percent).
The Trojans extended its all-time record over the Toreros to 4-0.
Duda Sanadze led San Diego with 12 points and walk-on freshman Olin Carter III scored eight points with seven rebounds for the Toreros.
USC continued its aggressive attack in the opening half. Malik Marquetti's back-to-back baskets upped the Trojans lead to 36-13 and Stewart's free throw gave the Trojans its largest lead of the opening half at 37-13 with 3:00 to play.
McLaughlin had nine points and three blocked shots in the opening 20 minutes.
''Overall we played really well at both ends of the floor,'' said Enfield. ''We played an up tempo game and I'm proud of our guys. We held them to 24 percent shooting and we had 11 blocked shots. I think we showed confidence in how hard we've worked and we're a better basketball team.''
Julian Jacobs scored 11 points and had seven rebounds and freshman Bennie Boatwright added 10 points and six rebounds for USC.
Boatwright's 3-pointer extended the Trojans lead to 56-23 with 13:47 to play.
The Trojans 6-11 freshman Chimezie Metu scored five points with five blocked shots and five rebounds. Jovanovic also had eight rebounds for USC.
The Trojans shot 47.8 percent (32-67) for the game and outrebounded San Diego 55-36.
The Toreros never got into an offensive rhythm throughout the game and didn't get any closer than 20 points in the second half, spoiling head coach Lamont Smith's debut.
''We have to focus better and we didn't execute very well,'' said Smith. ''It was the first game for everybody and I think we were a little wide-eyed and jittery. We'll go back and watch the tape and continue to improve.''
San Diego: The Toreros have five freshmen on their roster: Tyler Williams, Olin Carter III, Alex Floresca and walk-ons, Hunter Summy and Christian Oshita.
USC: The Trojans have won 17 of their last 21 home openers.
San Diego travels to Western Michigan on Tuesday.
USC hosts Monmouth on Wednesday.
The Trojans have two highly-touted freshmen on their roster that are expected to have an immediate impact. Bennie Boatwright averaged 27.8 points and 13 rebounds for Sun Valley, California Village Christian High School and was named the CIF Division 1AA Player of the Year. Chimezie Metu averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds for Lawndale (California) High School and was the CIF Division II Player of the Year.
San Diego: The Toreros were picked to finish 9th of 10 teams in the West Coast Conference coaches preseason poll.
USC: In a preseason media poll, the Trojans were picked to finish 10th of 12 teams in the Pac-12.