Men’s basketball travels to face Temple for first road trip

Photo of Ethan Anderson holding a basketball in Galen Center. He squares off against a defending player. There is a crowd of people behind him in the stands.
Junior guard Ethan Anderson holds the ball during USC’s 89-49 opening victory Tuesday against Cal State, Northridge. Anderson finished with 5 points, 2 assists and 3 rebounds in 19 minutes. (Talha Rafique | Daily Trojan)

Men’s basketball will face Temple Saturday in its first away game of the season. After their dominant 40-point victory over Cal State Northridge Tuesday, the Trojans are favored going into the matchup. 

However, Head Coach Andy Enfield said he believes the matchup could be a challenge. 

“Temple is a very tough team, they have a lot of interchangeable players, meaning they can play different positions, and they have a couple guys who can put up big numbers on the scoreboard,” said Enfield in an interview with the Daily Trojan. 

The Owls, who had a subpar season last year with a 5-11 record, also had a strong start to their 2021 campaign, defeating the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore 72-49 Wednesday night in their home opener. 

Sophomore guard Khalif Battle led Temple in scoring with 22 points. The New Jersey native added six rebounds. 

“[Battle is] their leading scorer and we have to play good team defense to limit his looks at the basket,” Enfield said. 

While Temple ended its season opener with a comfortable, 23-point victory, it looked sluggish to start the game. 

At halftime, Temple were only up by a point, and the Owls used an explosive 46-point second half to secure their first victory. As a team, Temple struggled from the foul line, making only 56.3% of its free throws.  

The Trojans on the contrary did not start slow in their season opener. USC led CSUN 52-19 at halftime, thanks to the strong performances of junior guard Boogie Ellis and junior forward Isaiah Mobley. 

There was plenty of scoring for USC, as 12 Trojans got on the board and three starters scored in the double-digits. USC also beat CSUN in all statistical

All 13 scholarship players saw playing time. 

“We have a super long amount of weapons on our team,” Mobley said. “We’re really deep, so getting everyone involved will make us hard to beat.” 

Mobley also expressed his excitement for the season’s first away game. 

“I’m excited. Temple’s a good opponent, should be a good atmosphere,” he said. 

Mobley was the first Trojan to score a basket this season with a three-point shot from the top of the arc. He went on to score 15 points and add 9 rebounds. Senior guard Drew Peterson also had 14 points. 

The matchup between Ellis and Battle is one to pay attention to, with the two offensive-minded guards scoring double digit points in the opener. 

Battle averaged 15 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore after transferring from Butler.  

Ellis, who was named the AAC Co-Sixth Man of the Year last season, looks forward to heading to Philadelphia. Ellis began his college career at Memphis before transferring to USC. 

“I’m super excited to get on the court again and see what it’s like against adversity with these guys,” Ellis said. “I’m pretty sure we will do well if we do the little things and communicate.” 

The game will tip off at 4 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed on ESPN+.