The USC’s men’s basketball starts 2-0 after beating the University of Montana, 76-62, Saturday night at the Galen Center.
The win comes a week after taking an overtime win against Cal Baptist in USC’s season opener. On Saturday, the team emerged with focus and chemistry.
“Our first night was pretty ugly,” said USC senior Chevez Goodwin. “It wasn’t our best basketball, but it was our first night in nine months, and a lot of people forget that. But I think this night was a lot better. We played a lot better as a team and our main thing for moving forward is trying to focus on our energy. ”
Three Trojans ended the night in double digits. Drew Peterson led the Trojans with 13 points, followed by Evan Mobley with 11 points, six rebounds and Isaiah White with 10 points.
Isaiah Mobley had six points and 13 boards, while Goodwin scored eight points and seven rebounds.
Brandon Whitney led Montana, which finished third in the Big Sky last season, with 17 points.
The Trojans kicked off a 7-0 round of scoring with Peterson sinking a 3-pointer in less than 30 seconds in the game and they never gave up the lead on their crowd-less home field due to coronavirus precautions.
“It just shows the level of talent we have,” said Peterson. “Especially with our greats and everyone else, when we play as a unit, our talent can take us to levels that can land us a Pac 12 championship and we know it. So when we play efficiently and are ready to go, we get results like this. ”
The Grizzlies (0-1) scored their first points just over three minutes in the game off a Michael Steadman jumper, but couldn’t accumulate much more.
Goodwin and Evan Mobley threw back-to-back dunks in the middle of the first half to give the Trojans a 23-6 lead, which grew to a 44-25 lead by the break.
Peterson got the score in the second half with a 3 pointer from the top of the key, and later Ethan Anderson assisted Evan Mobley on consecutive baskets to make it 52-29.
The Trojans scored 32 points in a second half full of errors to secure victory.
“I thought it was difficult to get into an attacking rhythm because of the pollution, and that was true for both sides because we were too dirty at the defensive end,” said Trojans coach Andy Enfield. “The second half was very choppy, it wasn’t the good flow we had in the first half.”
USC is now turning its attention to the Roman Legends Classic, in which it will play Brigham Young on Tuesday at Uncasville, Conn.