The Trojans kicked off the 2012-2013 season in style at the Galen Center on Friday night, with an 87-73 win over the Coppin State Eagles, in the mainland portion of the Maui Invitational.
Kevin O’Neill got his troops plenty of reps early, with 11 players getting time in the first half, including Omar Oraby, the Egyptian transfer from Rice. At 7-foot-2, Oraby brought his bulky interior game to Galen Center, as he tallied 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks in just 14 minutes.
Wearing No. 55, Oraby showed plenty of signs of being a potential fan favorite, as he played out every possession, fought hard for his rebounds and was perfect from the charity stripe.
With Dewayne Dedmon getting the majority of playing time at the five, Oraby could end up being the team’s most valuable option off the bench, given the foul struggles that have been known to bog Dedmon down. Dedmon had a solid night to start the season, highlighted by two dunks, including finishing off an alley-opp from Byron Wesley in the second half.
Incoming transfer J.T. Terrell had a dismal first half, going 0 for 7 from the floor, and the junior shooting guard didn’t score from the field until the opening minute of the second half on a layup, as part of a 12-0 run spanning both halves.
In the second half, Terrell showed the potential he flashed back at Wake Forest, hitting from distance and drawing fouls on jump shots. He finished the game tied with Wesley for the team lead with 17 points, and despite the strong play from Oraby, his performance in the second half could very well have earned him the game ball.
Wesley had 13 points in the first 20 minutes and was a big reason why the Trojans had a 40-30 lead at the half.
O’Neill played 12 players for the Trojans, with big man Renaldo Woolridge being the last player to see the floor in the game’s final two minutes.
For Coppin State, their zone defense held the Trojans in check at times, and it was their three-point shooting that kept USC from running away with the game in the second half. Guard Patrick Cole led the Eagles in scoring with 25 points, and he was 3 of 4 from distance.
The Trojans host Long Beach State on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m., before they head to Hawaii to participate in the bracketed rounds of the Maui Invitational. They’ll start with a first round game against Illinois, and get the opportunity to play a trio national powerhouses including Texas and North Carolina.