USC takes down Seton Hall, 71-63, in the Rady Children’s Invitational

The Trojans advanced in the Rady Children's Invitational and will now face the Sooners on Friday

LA JOLLA, Calif. -After defeating Brown last Sunday, the Trojans faced off against Seton Hall on Thanksgiving in the first round of the Rady Children’s Invitational.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Hot start against the Tigers

In the first half of the game, USC dominated the court against the Pirates by controlling the tempo and maintaining their lead throughout. Kobe Johnson set the tone by scoring two back-to-back three pointers and making some excellent defensive stops. The team’s excellent ball movement allowed them to take open shots and play at their own pace. DJ Rodman, after missing the last game against Brown, returned to the lineup.

The USC defense deserves a lot of credit for their performance against the Pirates in the first half. They held the Pirates to shooting 0 for 6 from beyond the arc and 9 for 32 from the field. Meanwhile, the Trojans shot 5 for 13 from three and 11 for 28 from the field, giving them a 32-22 lead at halftime. Isaiah Collier has been struggling with turnovers, averaging over five per game in the first few games of the season. However, Collier mentioned last week that he is working on securing the ball and playing more under control.

In the first half of the game, Collier scored 6 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and made 2 assists. Kobe Johnson followed with 8 points, while Boogie Ellis collected 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. This trio will be the foundation of the Trojans team throughout the season. When Bronny James joins the team, he will take their offense to the next level. Some may forget how talented and explosive James is on the court, as he displayed his skills while playing for Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles.

The USC Trojans dominated the Seton Hall Pirates on the boards, outrebounding them 27 to 15. However, Seton Hall’s defense was able to create turnovers for USC’s offense, with 6 turnovers to USC’s 1. Despite this, the Trojans were able to pull ahead in the first half with a 14-point lead. Joshua Morgan was a standout player on defense, with 5 blocks in the first half. USC went on a 16-2 run, extending their lead to double digits, and keeping the Pirates scoreless for over 7 minutes.

The offense rolls through the Tigers

During the game against Seton Hall, it was evident that the guards were the key players for the team. However, the opportunities that Joshua Morgan and Kijani Wright created for their team were incredible. In the second half, the Trojans relaxed a little after leading by 20 points, which allowed Seton Hall to go on a 14-2 run. Johnson and Collier spent some time on the bench during this period, which gave the Tigers a chance to get back in the game.

In the second half of the game, the Tigers improved their ball handling skills which enabled them to take open jump shots and prevented the Trojans from scoring off turnovers. It was intriguing to observe how USC dominated the first half, but the tables turned in the second half.

During their recent game, Tigers’ G Kadary Richmond and Dre Davis put in a great effort in scoring and play-making, even as their team trailed by 20 points in the second half. While Seton Hall fought valiantly and managed to reduce USC’s lead by 3 in the final minutes, the Trojans’ Morgan had a tough game, with 6 turnovers, despite his impressive school-record of 10 blocks. The issue of turnovers has been a consistent concern for USC throughout the first five games of the season, and in this game, they had a total of 19 turnovers.

During the game, Collier had a chance to extend the Trojans’ lead by six points but missed two critical free throws with less than three minutes left. Since this is only Collier’s fifth game in college, it will take some time for him to become more consistent in high-pressure moments. Despite this, USC head coach Andy Enfield recognizes Collier’s immense talent and is confident that he will eventually become a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Johnson had a fantastic game and USC is fortunate to have him back on the team. He excels both in scoring and defensively, always making plays against the best players on the opposing team. Johnson is a 6’6 junior who has been playing great basketball in the first three games of the season, after missing the first two home games due to an injury he sustained in the first game in Las Vegas. He finished the night with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 steals in the win over Seton Hall.

USC’s Trojans managed to secure a 71-63 victory at the Rady Children’s Invitational, with Ellis leading the charge. His quickness and ability to drive the ball and shoot off the dribble made him a nightmare for the opposing defenses. Despite being a 6’3 point guard in his fifth year at USC, Ellis fits perfectly into coach Enfield’s system. He finished the game with an impressive 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. In his first four games of the season, he has an average of 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, after missing the game against UC Irvine.

It’s evident that Collier is the most talented freshman on the team. However, there are concerns regarding his ability to secure the ball and limit turnovers as he continues to improve at the college level. At 6’5″ and weighing 210 pounds, this guard from Atlanta is difficult to defend due to his explosiveness that reminds me of Anthony Edwards, the number one pick of the 2020 NBA Draft who plays for the Timberwolves. Although Collier’s performance in the game against Seton Hall was commendable with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, he had 5 turnovers, which is a cause of concern.

Trojans face Oklahoma on Black Friday

The Trojans have advanced to the Championship round after defeating Seton Hall. Bronny James was seen warming up with his teammates for the second consecutive game and looked impressive during warmups. He effortlessly made some difficult shots, leaving onlookers in awe. While there is no official announcement yet about his debut for the Trojans, it seems like it could happen soon.

Despite the Pirates having a strong defense ranking, coming in 21st nationally in scoring defense (allowing an average of 59.0 points per game) and 26th in 3-point defense (allowing opponents to shoot just 24.8%). USC was able to make 10 of 23 3-pointers, shooting with an impressive 43.5% accuracy as the Trojans were able to execute their game plan with precision and overcome the Pirates’ defense.

The Trojans had a good start, winning two out of three home games, and they now have a 4-1 record for the season. They will face an unranked Sooners team in an interesting matchup. The game will be nationally broadcast at 12:30pm on Fox.