Men’s basketball goes on the road to face Cal


first_imgThe USC Trojans    (9-12, 1-8 Pac-12) look to end their six-game losing streak as they head on the road to face the California Golden Bears (13-9, 3-6). The Trojans beat Cal earlier in the season,    72-57 at the Galen Center, but USC has lost 8 of their last 9 games.USC is coming off a blowout loss to the Utah Runnin’ Utes    (17-4, 7-2) last Sunday at home, 67-39. The Trojans were led in that game by freshman forward Malik Martin who scored 11 points for USC.In the worst loss of the season, the Trojans continued their poor shooting with only 26.5 percent; the loss was the largest margin of defeat that the Trojans have seen so far this season. The Trojans only scored 12 points in the first half and could never get back into the game.USC head coach Andy Enfield gave credit to Utah for their stellar performance in the first half.“Give Utah credit for playing well early,” Enfield said. “This was one of those halves of basketball where you shake your head and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t see this coming.’”In Cal’s most recent contest, they beat the Washington State Cougars (10-11, 4-5)                                   90-88. The Bears had two record performances in the game in Washington when they witnessed junior guard Tyrone Wallace enter the 1,000-point club and senior forward David Kravish break the school’s all-time block record. Cal will look at these two difference-makers to avoid a season sweep at the hands of USC.Cal will also lean on sophomore guard Jordan Mathews who is leading the team in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game, in Cal’s nine league games.In the most recent game between these two California teams, the Trojans were led to victory by sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic who scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds in USC’s only conference win of the season. Redshirt sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt added 16 points for the Trojans in one of his signature shooting performances while sophomore guard Julian Jacobs added 17 points in the win. Wallace led the way for the Bears in the loss with 21 points of his own.Jovanovic leads the Trojans in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and Reinhardt is not too far behind with an average of 11.9 points per game.Reinhardt has found his stroke as of late and is shooting 44.2 percent from behind the arc in his last six games.USC will look for freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin to break out of his recent slump and help contribute to a win up north.In USC’s most recent loss to Utah, McLaughlin was scoreless on 0-7 shooting and he also had zero assists. Despite his struggles, McLaughlin is still third on the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game.McLaughlin is having an impressive freshman season, outside of shooting, and he leads his team in assists and steals with 88 and 28 respectively.The other freshmen for the Trojans have also struggled as of late, especially in scoring. Guard Elijah Stewart was scoreless against Utah and forward Malik Marquetti only scored 2 points in 21 minutes. Even though the bench has not been very productive scoring the ball, Enfield praised their effort after the loss to Utah.“I’m proud of our bench coming in and increasing our energy,” Enfield said. “We need the whole team to play like that.”When the Trojans tip off on Thursday night, they will be playing in a stadium that has not been kind to them recently. USC is 2-6 in its last 8 visits to Haas Pavilion where the Bears are 8-6 this season.USC has not fared well on the road all season; they post a 2-6 road record on the year. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. and will be aired on Fox Sports 1.last_img read more