3 Trojans score 20-plus in USC's 101-90 win over Monmouth
LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California did what UCLA could not - avoid being upset by Monmouth.
Jordan McLaughlin scored 22 points to lead a trio of Trojans with at least 20 and they hung on for a 101-90 victory Monday night. Nikola Jovanovic added 20 points and 12 rebounds, Elijah Stewart scored 20 points and Julian Jacobs had a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Trojans (2-0).
''We knew they would be a good match-up,'' McLaughlin said.
Justin Robinson scored a career-high 28 points and Deon Jones added 20 for the Hawks (1-1), who were coming off an 84-81 overtime win at UCLA on Friday. Both players were Monmouth's leading scorers last season.
''Coach gave me the ball and told me to keep attacking,'' Robinson said. ''He put it on me at the end to keep us in it. I just didn't make enough shots.''
The Hawks came close to sweeping the Pac-12 schools in Los Angeles, leading 63-60 early in the second half before tying the game at 66-all on Collin Stewart's 3-pointer.
''They had a great game plan. You could tell they scouted us well. They just made timely shot after timely shot,'' Monmouth coach King Rice said. ''I've learned I definitely have tough kids. Even when things don't go our way we'll continue to fight and stay together. That's a good thing to work with.''
Monmouth twice got within one point with five minutes to go, when Robinson reeled off seven straight points. USC gradually pulled away, getting two 3-pointers by Stewart and another from Katin Reinhardt to lead 90-82.
''They just made some big-time 3s,'' Robinson said. ''There were a couple of times we could have guarded the 3 better. Stewart had a couple of wide-open looks, and he's one of the better shooters in the Pac-12.''
The Trojans went 8 of 10 from the line over the final 1:55 to seal the victory.
''We played well enough down the stretch to win the game,'' USC coach Andy Enfield said. ''There were a lot of tough shots by both teams. We knew Monmouth was a good basketball team. I think the team we played tonight will win 20 games.''
USC led 47-46 at halftime, having allowed the Hawks to overcome most of their 16-point deficit. Monmouth got most of its baskets inside for the game's first 13 minutes until Stewart and Robinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, launching a barrage from the perimeter. The Hawks got two more 3s before the break.
Monmouth: The Hawks fell to 1-2 against the Pac-12 all-time. ... Freshman F Pierre Saar was declared eligible by the NCAA on Friday, allowing him to practice and play. He flew to LA and arrived in time to greet the team when it returned from beating UCLA. ... The Hawks remain two wins from 900 in school history.
USC: The Trojans could see the Hawks again on Nov. 29. Both teams are in the AdvoCare Invitational and they could meet in Orlando, Florida, since they are in opposite brackets. ... They are in a stretch of playing seven games in 17 days to start the season.
USC scored 100 or more points for the first time since getting 103 against Stanford on March 7, 2002. It's the most by the Trojans at Galen Center and the most in a home game since scoring 107 against Bradley on Nov. 17, 2000.
McLaughlin and Jacobs combined to score 41 points, grab 15 rebounds and hand out 11 assists with each playing 30-plus minutes. Both had four fouls. McLaughlin is back full-time after having surgeries on both shoulders that cut last season short in February.
Jones needs 68 points to reach the 1,000-point mark at Monmouth after scoring 223 points as a freshman at Towson before transferring. Robinson is at 685 in his career. The school has 20 players over 1,000 points in their careers.
Monmouth: At Drexel on Saturday.
USC: Hosts New Mexico on Saturday.