December 18, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) Katin Reinhardt began the year coming off the bench for Southern California. Now that he's in the starting lineup, the junior sharpshooter is making a strong case to stay there.

Reinhardt scored 29 points, making seven 3-pointers, and USC never trailed in a 101-82 victory over Cal Poly on Thursday night for its fourth straight win.

Reinhardt, making just his second start of the season, shot 9 of 12 from the floor, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range.

''Everybody wants to start,'' Reinhardt said. ''It's a little easier I think because you get warmed up and then go right onto the court, rather than coming off the bench when you're sitting and cool ... I got my chance and now I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do, make shots.''

Reinhardt made his first five field goals, including his first three 3-pointers, to reach double figures and put USC (9-2) in front just five minutes into the game.

He never cooled off, ultimately scoring 22 points in the first half to get the Trojans out to a 49-42 halftime lead.

''I felt it when I was here a little earlier shooting around,'' Reinhardt said. ''My shot was falling and I just felt really prepared for the game. I just felt good.''

Freshman Chimezie Metu scored a season-high 16 points and Julian Jacobs had 10 points and a career-high 13 assists for the Trojans, who improved to 7-0 at home and 8-0 in-state.

USC shot 12 of 23 from 3-point range, its fifth game of the year with at least 12 3s, and topped 100 points for the second time this season.

The Trojans never scored 100 points in their first two seasons under Coach Andy Enfield.

''At some point we thought this is what our offense could be,'' Jacobs said. ''We went through hell those first two years, but it's sort of paying off now. I think today was the first time we embodied `Dunk City' from start to finish.''

David Nwaba scored 15 points to lead five scorers in double figures for the Mustangs (5-5), who lost three of their last four.

The Trojans led by just seven at the half despite Reinhardt's torrid start, but he picked up right where he left in the second half to put Cal Poly away.

Reinhardt drained a 3-pointer from the corner in front of his own bench on USC's opening possession, assisted on Bennie Boatwright's 3-pointer on the next, converted a technical free throw and then drained another 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Trojans up 62-48 with 16:49 to go.

''They did a good job moving Katin on the baseline and locked up our post,'' Mustangs coach Joe Callero said. ''We weren't able to get out to him a couple times early, and when you get those early ones and get that confidence going, it's tough to stop the bleeding.''

Reinhardt only attempted one more shot the rest of the way as other players stepped up to finish it off for USC.

Nikola Jovanovic had 13 points and Boatwright and Darion Clark each had 10 to give the Trojans six players in double figures.

''Once they started guarding me everyone else did a great job just making plays,'' Reinhardt said. ''Can't complain about that. Get the points, get the win.''

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TIP-INS

Cal Poly: The Mustangs completed the second game of a season-long six-game road trip. . Freshman forward Josh Martin became eligible Thursday and came off the bench for his Cal Poly debut. He was a midseason transfer from Minnesota last year. . The Mustangs have lost their last two games by a combined 49 points after losing 93-63 to St. Mary's earlier this week.

USC: Julian Jacobs returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous game with tendinitis in his left Achilles. . The Trojans are off to their best start since 2006-07, when they also began 9-2. ... USC improved to 1-2 all-time officially against Cal Poly. The Trojans beat the Mustangs in 2007 but vacated the win due to NCAA sanctions

FEELING THE THREE

The Trojans lead the Pac-12 with 97 made 3-pointers this season. It's a stark turnaround from finishing either last or second-to-last in the conference in 3-pointers the last four seasons.

''We just have guys now that are capable of knocking it down, it's that simple,'' Jacobs said. ''When we move the ball and play within the offense we get a lot of good looks, and now we have a ton of guys who can knock that down.''

FREQUENT FLYERS

The Mustangs have a rather daunting travel schedule the next three weeks.

They are flying back home to San Luis Obispo this weekend, then will fly to Texas for a pair of games, fly back home, fly back to Texas a week later for a Dec. 29 contest with Texas A&M, fly back home again, and then fly to Hawaii for a game Jan. 6.

Overall, Cal Poly will log nearly 12,000 air miles the next three weeks.

UP NEXT

Cal Poly visits Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday.

USC hosts SIU-Edwardsville on Monday.

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