When USC beat UC Santa Barbara on Sunday night, the coaching staff essentially told sophomore forward Chimezie Metu to stop acting like a baby.
A frustrated Metu refused to accept celebratory hand slaps from his teammates. He avoided talking to anyone. He played mad and produced a solid 15 points with five rebounds and three blocks. He had three assists and two steals but turned the ball over three times.
The output was solid. The input wasn't acceptable.
"Coaches just told me I was being a little kid on the bench and my teammates told me as well and I just tried to bounce back."
He did that Wednesday night in a 76-55 win against San Diego at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Metu was everywhere, producing his second double-double of the season and third of his career. He led the team with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
"I thought Chimezie played outstanding basketball," USC head coach Andy Enfield said after the game. "Tonight he was very mature. Played with energy and rebounded. Made some offensive moves. He passed the ball when he had to and he talked on defense. [When he] plays like he did tonight, he's a spectacular player."
He scored in such a variety of ways, an NBA scout in attendance was taken back, smirking and nodding with approval after a bucket by Metu.
Metu knocked down a mid-range jumper to open the night's scoring and didn't let up after. He knocked down mid-range shots, worked the offensive boards for tip-ins and putback dunks. He flashed a turnaround hook shot. On one sequence, he blocked a 3-pointer which San Diego recovered, grabbed a defensive rebound and then showed he can put the ball on the floor to create at the other end, dribbling two dribbles to his left before hitting a falling down jumper in the middle of the paint.
He listed consistency with his mid-range jumper as his top offseason improvement.
"I worked on that a lot this summer," Metu said before adding his other areas of growth: "Just being able to take guys off the dribble after a couple shots. Just being reliable down on the block."
Metu was only credited with one block. San Diego's scorekeepers might want to check the tape.
"Last game, I know we beat them, but it was a lapse defensively and the coaches got on us about it," Metu said of the win over UC Santa Barbara. "We just wanted to come out here and show that we can play defense."
The Trojans did that, holding San Diego to just 31.6 percent shooting with his presence inside contributing to the Toreros scoring only 10 points in the paint.
Watch Chimezie Metu, above, talk about the potential loss of fellow sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright as well as his outstanding game against San Diego.
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