Los Angeles, CA – The No.24 USC Trojans (4-0) overpowered the Dixie State Trailblazers (1-4) on Monday night in a 98-71 win to mark USC’s fifth 4-0 start in the last seven seasons.
USC took a commanding 22-5 lead with 11:16 left in the first half.
Dixie State started to show some signs of life and tried to climb their way back in the game.
Trailblazer Cameron Gooden hit a step back jumper outside of the paint to cut the lead to 11 at halftime 47-36.
USC head coach Andy Enfield discussed what caused his team’s defensive lapses near the end of the first half.
“I thought our defense was strong and then in the last five minutes in the half it really let down and they scored about 7 or 8 straight possessions to get back in the game. We subbed five at a time which we normally don’t do because we had the lead. I wanted to try to get our young guys in the game and see what they could do. We brought our starters back in the last seven minutes and that’s when the defensive lapses started. We expect more from our starters, but I think they fixed that in the second half and came out with an intensity and more communication to pull away.”
Out of the break, Dixie State cut the lead to ten 56-46 around the 17-minute mark.
Coach Enfield explained the defensive adjustments made in the second half.
“We made some defensive mistakes that were uncharacteristic with a lot of switching,” said Coach Enfield. “We were supposed to be switching but we weren’t. They made it tough on us. I think our guys adjusted to that from about the 17-minute mark on to finish the game.”
Despite the shaky defense, it was clear that Dixie State posed zero threat to USC.
The Trojans shot 52.8% from the field and 37.5% from distance.
USC’s Max Agbonkpolo recorded a career-high 17 points.
“It was very important to hit my shots tonight. It was getting in my head the first three games. My teammates said to keep shooting. Tonight, they went in, and it felt good. Defense and rebounding are big things for me,” said Agbonkpolo.
Five Trojans scored in double figures, Boogie Ellis (19), Max Agbonkpolo (17), Isaiah Mobley (14), Ethan Anderson (13), and Chevez Goodwin (12).
“We’ve been playing together for a long time. It’s great to show everyone it’s coming together,” said Agbonkpolo.
This game marked the first-ever meeting in basketball between the two schools.
USC head coach Andy Enfield picked up his 202nd career win, and 161st win at USC.
The USC Trojans will compete in the Paycom Wooden Legacy tournament on Thursday, November 25th against Saint Joseph’s at 6:30 p.m. in Anaheim, CA.