USC falls 91-75 against Auburn, losing streak extends to three

The Trojans lost to Auburn on Sunday as Ellis scored 22, Collier scored 13, and James finished with 5 points.

The USC Trojans played hard against the Auburn Tigers, but ultimately lost, marking their third consecutive defeat. Coach Andy Enfield needs to focus on defense since the Trojans gave up too many open opportunities to Auburn. With such a talented team, it’s unacceptable to be losing games so early in the season.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Defensive mistakes won’t cut it against good teams

Auburn displayed excellent ball movement that caused most of the Trojans to rotate late on defense, providing multiple open shot opportunities. The start of the game was a bit interesting as USC came out with high energy but gradually fell apart in the first half. Although Trojans initially gained the upper hand over the Tigers by 3 points in the opening 3 minutes, Auburn bounced back by scoring the next 11 points. Tigers F Jaylin Williams stormed his way past USC’s defense making it look easy for himself.

During the game against Auburn, USC’s offense that featured Ellis and Collier, played a crucial role in keeping the Trojans in the game. However, by the end of the first half, USC was trailing Auburn by 14 points. Even though the Trojans started the game with a 9-6 lead, thanks to Collier’s seven quick points, the Tigers broke out on a 24-7 run. One of the main issues for the Trojans was securing the ball, which allowed Auburn to take advantage and extend their lead. By halftime, USC was struggling to keep up with Auburn’s scoring as they had an impressive 52.9 percent shooting percentage from the field.

During the first half of the game, Collier faced some issues with fouls, which resulted in him only being able to play for nine minutes. Although he had a limited role, there is still potential for him to improve. With more game experience, Collier has the potential to become a dominant player for the Trojans.

The Tigers started off strong, taking an early lead and building up a 16-point advantage with eight minutes remaining in the first half. Despite USC’s efforts to reduce the deficit, Auburn always managed to respond quick. Every time USC tried to chip away at the lead, Auburn would scored quickly to sustained the lead. As the half came to an end, the Tigers made a clutch three-pointer as time expired, extending their lead even further.

Overall, the first half of the game was a challenging one for USC, but there’s still plenty of time left to turn things around. With some adjustments and strong performances from key players like Collier and Ellis, it allowed the Trojans to not get fully embarrassed on national television.

Adjusts need to be made by Coach Enfield

During the game, the Auburn Tigers maintained their constant pressure on the USC defense, allowing them to take a 23-point lead in the second half. Jaylin Williams scored 14 points for Auburn, while Denver Jones had 12, and both Broome and Cardwell each scored 11 points in the win over the Trojans. Auburn’s strong defense forced 15 turnovers, causing Collier and Vincent Owuchukwu to foul out of the game. The pressure is mounting on Enfield to turn things around quickly before it’s too late. Boogie Ellis was the leading scorer of the game but also had five turnovers. Collier also had three turnovers but has shown improvement in recent games in reducing turnovers.

USC has experienced defeats against highly-ranked teams such as Oklahoma and Gonzaga, despite being the underdog in those games. However, losing to UC Irvine and Long Beach State, in addition to being dominated by a talented yet unranked Auburn team, has not been a positive reflection on the Trojans team.

In the game, Oziyah Sellers scored 13 points by making the most of his playing time. Bronny James, in his second game as a Trojan, came off the bench and scored five points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Kobe Johnson needs to improve his consistency on both sides of the ball as he struggled throughout the game, scoring only 6 points on 2 for 13 from the field in 28 minutes. Although Ellis is the leading scorer, Johnson has the potential to perform better and take on that role. USC has been struggling with consistency this season in their first ten games.

Once James’ minutes restriction is lifted, he can be the missing piece to USC’s success with his ability to defend and make shots.

Bronny James is the missing piece to USC’s success

James only played for 14 minutes during their recent game against Auburn, which they lost 91-75. He only scored 5 points and he only made 3 out of 4 attempts. He has been practicing all week in preparation for his first road game of the season. The pressure on him is high with a sold-out crowd in Alabama.

Coach Enfield mentioned the possibility of changing the starting lineup after the loss to Long Beach. Once James’ restriction gets lifted, he will be added to the starting line-up due to his exceptional defense skills. Although he only played for a limited time, he was able to put pressure on the guards and is quick on rotations. Even though he is LeBron’s son, they have many similarities on the court, especially in terms of their awareness and IQ levels which are not highlighted on the stats sheet.

The Trojans have Collier, Ellis, Johnson, Rodman, and Vincent Iwuchukwu as their starters. However, Rodman may be replaced by James when the time is appropriate. Currently, Rodman has an average of 24.9 minutes in eight games and scores 5.9 points per game. His numbers have decreased compared to last season when he averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds on 41.3% from the field, while only shooting 31.7% this season. In the game against Auburn, Rodman finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes.

Coach Enfield discussed James’ performance in his first away game of the year against the Tigers and stated that it is not fair to evaluate him based on his first two games at college.

“He’s improved, but it’s a little unfair to him to be judging him every possession right now,” coach Andy Enfield said. “He’s come back and he gave us good minutes. He plays very hard. He’s just a freshman and he’s been out five months. It’s very, very challenging for him but we anticipate he’ll be a much better player by the middle of the season than he is now.”

USC is scheduled to play its next three games away from home. The first game will be played on Tuesday against Alabama State, followed by a game against Oregon on December 28, and a game against Oregon State on December 30. This is the first time since the 2002 season that USC has played four consecutive games on the road.

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