No. 21 USC warms up for rivalry game by welcoming Pacific
Looking to replace a lost nonconference game from earlier in the season, while also attempting to build momentum for a showdown game over the weekend, No. 21 Southern California will play host to Pacific on Tuesday at Los Angeles.
The Trojans (19-4) slipped two spots in the polls this week after a 72-63 loss at Arizona on Saturday. It was their second defeat in their last four games after also losing 64-61 at home against Stanford on Jan. 27.
In making Pacific of the West Coast Conference a late addition to the schedule, the Trojans are hoping to get a running start in advance of a home showdown with No. 12 UCLA Saturday. USC typically has a light game schedule the week it plays its cross-town rival.
Tuesday's game against the Tigers (7-15) replaces a Dec. 21 game against Oklahoma State at Oklahoma City that was canceled because of COVID-19 cases within the Trojans' program.
On Saturday at Tucson, Ariz., USC was within two points of then-No. 7 Arizona with 3:58 remaining and within three at 66-63 with 1:21 on the clock. But the Trojans missed their last nine field-goal attempts.
Isaiah Mobley was the only USC player to score in double figures with 15 points as the Trojans shot 34.3 percent (24 of 70) from the field. In a battle between two of the tallest teams in the country, USC was outrebounded 42-37.
USC's Drew Peterson (10.9 points per game) had just five points Saturday, going 1 of 13 from the field without a 3-pointer in six attempts. Boogie Ellis, second on the Trojans at 12.7 points per game, scored just eight.
"We did everything we could do and should have done to give us a chance to win, but the ball has to go in the basket," USC head coach Andy Enfield said in his postgame radio interview. "Our starting guards were 4 for 25, between Drew and Boogie, and that's just not going to get it done."
Pacific has two victories in its last four games, including a 76-73 victory over BYU on Jan. 29, so Enfield is not taking anything for granted.
"We have two big games next week," he said Saturday. "We have to go back and keep getting better as a team."
Pacific has a monster week ahead with a road matchup against No. 2 Gonzaga on Thursday after it faces the Trojans. The Tigers have a balanced offensive attack behind Alphonso Anderson (11 points per game), Jeremiah Bailey (10.8) and Luke Avdalovic (10.5).
Pacific is 0-9 in true road games and its only win away from home was an 85-74 neutral-court triumph against Hawaii-Hilo on Nov. 11 at Honolulu.
The Tigers were in the Los Angeles area Saturday, falling 70-64 to Pepperdine at Malibu. The loss came two days after defeating the Waves 81-76 at home.
"I thought we lost the war on the glass," Pacific head coach Leonard Perry said after his team was topped 36-32 in rebounding. "That's where the game was, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds. ... They had a couple of them at crucial times (for) second-chance points."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 7, 2022