NCAAB: Looking for consistency, USC welcomes Eastern Washington

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After splitting a pair of games against high-profile opponents in San Diego last week, Southern California returns home to Los Angeles to host Eastern Washington for a nonconference matchup on Wednesday.

The Trojans (4-2) opened the two-day Rady Children’s Invitational in San Diego with a 71-63 win over Seton Hall last Thursday but dropped a 72-70 decision the next day to Oklahoma.

USC was outrebounded 36-28 against the Sooners, with Oklahoma’s final board coming on Otega Oweh’s game-winning putback at the buzzer.

“One block out and the game goes into overtime, and we have a chance to win,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said via 247Sports.

USC’s defense has been solid through the first six games of the season, limiting opponents to 39.3 percent shooting from the floor and 29 percent shooting on 3-pointers. Joshua Morgan, who set a program record with 10 blocked shots vs. Seton Hall, ranks third in the nation with 3.3 blocks per contest to help set the tone.

But the missed shot attempts the Trojans force have led to rebounding opportunities upon which opponents are capitalizing. USC is giving up 13 offensive boards a game.

Eastern Washington (1-5) struggled to keep the competition off the offensive glass in its most recent outing, an 82-72 loss at Washington State on Monday.

The Eagles gave up 21 second-chance points while scoring just five of their own and were outscored 36-18 in the paint.

Ethan Price led Eastern Washington with 17 points in the loss, Casey Jones notched 16 before fouling out and freshman Mason Williams came off the bench for eight points.

“We’ve got a really special freshman class,” Eagles coach David Riley said following the team’s win over Walla Walla last Wednesday. “What Mason and (Sebastian Hartmann) have already done to contribute this early is exciting.”

Eastern Washington also got eight points on Monday from Jake Kyman, a familiar face for the Trojans. Kyman played at USC rival UCLA from 2019-22.

In his return to Los Angeles, Kyman will see a USC backcourt that still features Boogie Ellis, a Trojan since the 2021-22 season who is averaging 20.2 points per game. New to the USC lineup this year, freshman Isaiah Collier is averaging 18.2 points.

–Field Level Media

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