A battle on the boards became domination on the glass for the men’s basketball team on Wednesday night, as it racked up a significant rebounding edge on San Diego en route to a 76-55 road victory at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
The Trojans picked up their seventh consecutive victory to open the season on Wednesday, and in the process the team outrebounded San Diego by a tally of 44-28.
As USC (7-0) built its 43-31 lead to conclude the first half, the Trojans had a 24-11 edge over the Toreros (2-5) on the glass throughout the opening period of play.
USC sophomore forward Chimezie Metu recorded his second double-double of the season Wednesday night, as he scored a season-high 19 points (on 9-of-11 shooting from the field) and reeled in a career-high 13 rebounds. Metu has scored in double-digits in five of USC’s seven games this season.
Overall, the Trojans shot 30-of-59 (50.8 percent) from the field as they picked up their second consecutive 20-plus point victory.
Metu was one of three double-digit scorers for USC Wednesday night.
Junior guard Elijah Stewart finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.
Freshman forward De’Anthony Melton scored a total of 14 points against the Toreros Wednesday. Melton also grabbed five rebounds, recorded three assists, and picked up two steals on the defensive side.
In total, the Trojans collected seven steals defensively for the game.
Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin recorded a team-high four assists Wednesday and scored 9 points.
Over the final four minutes of regulation, USC shut out a comeback attempt from San Diego by finishing the game on a 9-0 run that included a dunk from Metu.
The Trojans held the Toreros to 18-of-57 (31.6 percent) shooting from the field Wednesday night. In the second half, USC held San Diego to 6-of-25 shooting (24 percent) as it continued to build on its lead.
While USC came away with the victory, a left knee injury to sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright early in the first half concerned the Trojans for the remainder of regulation. After exiting the game only three minutes into regulation due to the injury, Boatwright never returned back into the contest.
Boatwright is coming off of an upper back injury which held him out of several games early on this season.
Head coach Andy Enfield told reporters after the game that Boatwright had an MCL injury, but was hopeful it’s a sprain instead of a tear. Boatwright will have an MRI done on Thursday.
“He’ll certainly be out a while,” Enfield said. “We’re hoping it’s a few weeks versus a season.”
“I’ll be alright, God has my back,” Boatwright tweeted after the game.
USC will now return to Los Angeles to take on BYU (5-2) at the Staples Center as part of the Hoophall LA showcase. The Trojans will look to pick up their eighth consecutive victory and tie the best start for the men’s basketball program since USC began the 2000-2001 season 8-0.