The University of Southern California roster looks nothing like the one that advanced to the Elite Eight last season.
But so far, so good.
Now, after opening the season with a convincing 89-49 victory over Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, the Trojans (1-0) will travel across the country to battle against Temple on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Boogie Ellis, a transfer from Memphis, led USC with 20 points against the Matadors, and Isaiah Mobley added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Ellis was dazzling in his debut, shooting 9 of 11 from the floor.
“Boogie is a dynamic scorer,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “He made nice passes. He sees the floor well. As he grows as a player, it will be fun to watch.”
The Trojans exhibited surprisingly good chemistry for the first game, even if it came against an overmatched opponent. The challenge will be more difficult against the more seasoned Owls.
“It was extremely fun. I think we play well with each other,” Mobley said. “I had a couple handoffs to (Ellis) that he scored off. It was just fun to play with him, he’s a playmaker and an excellent scorer.”
Temple (1-0) will look to build on a season-opening blowout of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday. After leading by one at the half, the Owls broke the game open in the second half for a 72-49 victory.
Khalif Battle led Temple with 22 points while Damian Dunn added 18.
Owls coach Aaron McKie believed that his young team looked a bit nervous in the first half before emerging in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought it was just the first-game home jitters, playing in front of fans at home,” McKie said. “It’s a new group of guys, young guys, a new environment for them. I want to chalk it up as having an out-of-body experience, I know for a fact that we’re much better than what we displayed in the first half, and we’re just a step slow.
“I thought our defense pretty much carried us until we started to make some shots.”
The Owls are now focused on USC, a far more challenging opponent than Maryland-Eastern Shore.
“I don’t expect any game to be seamless where everything’s perfect,” McKie said, “but there’s a lot that you can learn from games like this.”
–Field Level Media