Three days removed from an overtime nailbiter at Vanderbilt, the No. 10 USC men’s basketball team coasted to an 88-63 victory on their home court against Lehigh on Wednesday night.
Junior forward Bennie Boatwright led the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds, his first double-double of the season and third of his career. Four of USC’s starters scored in double digits, and senior guard Jordan McLaughlin finished with 5 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Against Vanderbilt, McLaughlin scored 35; but on Wednesday, he showed his adaptability and USC showed its ability to win in various ways.
“Jordan doesn’t care about scoring,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “He knows he can score, but our team needs him to be a playmaker, distributor and scorer when he has to (be) and he’s fine with that role.”
While McLaughlin did not score prolifically, his seven assists catalyzed USC’s multi-pronged offense. The team assisted 24 of 33 field goals.
“We all can shoot and we shared the ball,” sophomore guard Jonah Matthews said. “We showcased that tonight.”
Mathews had his best game of the young season with 18 points and seven rebounds. He led the Trojans with four 3-pointers, and the team shot 12-of-26 from beyond the arc.
Equally as impressive, the Trojans held Lehigh, a team that averages 30 three-point attempts per game, to 7-of-28 from downtown and 25-of-70 (35.7 percent from the floor. Lehigh’s two leading scorers, guards Kahron Ross and Lance Tejada, combined for 43 points; however, Enfield was impressed with his team’s backcourt defense. After switching Mathews to guard Ross in the second half, Ross scored only four points.
This coming Sunday, the Trojans face their biggest test of non-conference play against No. 16 Texas A&M. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.