USC Basketball rides elite defense to blowout win in PAC-12 opener

Joshua Morgan, USC Basketball, USC Trojans
Joshua Morgan, USC Basketball, USC Trojans / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

USC Basketball was just okay on offense during Wednesday night's PAC-12 opener on Wednesday against Cal. They scored just 66 points, and turned the ball over 12 times to the Golden Bears' eight. They ended up taking the W, though, by a score of 66-51. They pulled away in the second half of the second half, and their defense refused to allow Cal a chance to get back into the game.

Cal shot just 27.7% from the field. That's terrible, and barely better than their rough 25% from deep. The Bears shot terribly in general--going just 12 of 17 from the charity stripe, but plenty of their lack of scoring was due to strong defense from USC. Heck, USC big man Joshua Morgan wouldn't even let shots make their way toward the basket all game. He had an absurd SEVEN blocks on the day.

He's been a swat machine all year, averaging 3.1 blocks per game so far this season. He was more than just his shot-blocking tonight, though. He was a solid 4 of 6 from the field for 14 points, and hit all six of his free throws. He had seven boards, and a steal too. This type of defensive performance from him and the Trojans in general was CRUCIAL on a night like this.

That's because offensively, USC didn't have their fastball. They connected on only 31.3% of their three-point attempts. Nobody cracked 20 points. Not too many players particularly stood out on offense other than Morgan. It was really Morgan, Drew Peterson, and Reese Dixon-Waters carrying SC offensively.

Peterson had 14 points and a team-high five assists for USC Basketball at Cal.

Peterson was five of eight on the night for USC Basketball, and drained two threes out of his four attempts from deep. He hit both his free throws, and Dixon-Waters was also perfect from the line. He hit three foul shots, and had a team-high 17 points. He had six made shots out of 10, and was also two of four from downtown.

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Both he and Peterson were like Morgan in that they crashed the boards well too--at least for their positions. Dixon-Waters had six rebounds and Peterson had seven. Getting the guards in on the glass was huge for the Trojans--as they were able to beat Cal on the boards, 40-39. Cal is now a rough 0-8 on the season, while SC advances to 5-3.