Los Angeles, CA – With the USC basketball team almost at full strength, the Trojans largest lead was 41 points in the second half.
USC center Nick Rakocevic scored 16 points with 13 rebounds to help the Trojans in a 95-59 win over Stetson Wednesday night in the Hall of Fame Classic at the Galen Center.
“It was a nice team win,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “We played well on defense, especially in the second half. We shared the basketball. It was nice to have our complement of players back, it helped our depth and rotation.”
USC senior Bennie Boatwright was back in action for the first time this season after offseason knee surgery, scoring 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The Trojans improved to 2-1 on the season.
Boatwright said he felt good and got in a rhythm. It has been a tough nine months. I listened to my body, took one day at a time and trusted the process he added.
“I just let the game come to me and played within the flow of the game,” Boatwright, who finished with 16 points in 18 minutes, said. “This team is much different than last year. We play faster. As long as we defend, we’ll be tough to beat.”
USC used a 14-0 run to jump out to a 30-7 lead midway through the first half. The Trojans shot 53.6 percent from the field to take a 39-24 lead at halftime.
“We wanted to start fast and we did,” USC freshman Kevin Porter Jr., who scored 12 points in his first career start, said. “We just had to maintain.”
The Trojans pulled away in the second half, with strong performances by Boatwright and freshman Elijah Weaver who made his debut with nine points.
USC’s next game will be Monday, Nov. 19 against Texas Tech at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. as part of the NABC Hall of Fame Classic.
“The teams we’ll play (in the Kansas City tournament) are excellent,” Enfield said. “We’re excited because they are NCAA Tournament-type teams. This group is a work in progress with an opportunity to get better quickly.”