After going 1-2 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas last week, USC’s men’s basketball team returns home to the Galen Center this weekend to try and maintain their spotless home record against Boston College.
The Trojans (5-3) took its share of lickings at the hands of Villanova and Wake Forest in the Battle 4 Atlantis, but were able to rebound in the tournament’s final day with an 84-78 victory over Xavier.
Head coach Andy Enfield’s team was given some time this week to review the game tapes from the blowout losses in preparation for the visiting Boston College Eagles this weekend.
USC did not fare particularly well against another ACC foe in the Demon Deacons from Wake Forest, and looked completely out of sorts offensively. The lackluster play of senior center Omar Oraby was especially troubling.
Through the first five games of the season, Oraby seemed to be on his way to the breakout season USC fans were hoping for when he transferred from Rice last year. But in the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Cairo, Egypt native averaged just 4.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Senior point guard Pe’Shon Howard filled the void on offense for the Trojans, averaging 17.7 points while in the Bahamas.
Howard will hope to carry over that offensive outburst into USC’s showdown with Boston College (3-5), who has struggled thus far but boasts two dangerous scorers.
Guard Olivier Hanlan (21.7 points per game) and forward Ryan Anderson (19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds per game) carry the load offensively for the Eagles, while sophomore guard Joe Rahon chips in 13.4 points per game. No other player averages more than 6.0 points per contest, but the Eagles still manage to put up a robust 78.3 points per game.
Boston College does, however, struggle to keep their opponents off the board. The Eagles have only held one opponent (Sacred Heart) below 70 points, and have let up more than 80 points in half of their games.
That bodes well for the Trojans, who have excelled in lighting up the scoreboard (75.5 points per game). But they haven’t exactly been efficient, converting 45 percent of their field-goal attempts.
The defense has also been porous at times — the 94 points USC gave up to Villanova last week set a Battle 4 Atlantis tournament record, and the team has held just three opponents below the 70-point mark. Fortunately, all three of those matchups occurred at the Galen Center, giving the Trojans hope that they might have the foundation for a solid home-court advantage.
The Trojans tip off against the Eagles on Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.