Facing a San Diego lineup that didn't feature a player taller than 6-foot-7, USC knew it needed to control the paint.
Getting production from the bigs became even more important when the Trojans couldn't make any of its outside shots. The Trojans ended up shooting 3 for 18 on three-pointers (16.7 percent), but worked the ball inside for 30 points in the paint while holding San Diego to just 10.
"It's important to get the ball to them at the right time within the system and I thought we did a good job," Enfield said. "I thought our big guys played well."
Chimezie Metu finished with a team-high 19 points, scoring in several different facets from putbacks to alley-oops to turnaround hook shots and fadeaway jumpers. He also grabbed 13 rebounds.
But the Trojans lost possibly their best big man for the immediate future after Bennie Boatwright was hurt early in the first half and had to leave the game, forcing USC to change its linueps.
"Our rotation isn't the same as it would be without him," USC head coach Andy Enfield said. "He's a unique player with his size and his guard skills."
The Trojans (7-0) jumped out to a 6-0 lead to open the game and used a 9-2 run to go up 21-12 after eight minutes. USC pushed the lead up to as much as 15 in the first half before taking a 43-31 lead into halftime. San Diego trimmed the lead to 10 points once early in the second half. The Toreros rallied to trim the lead to 67-55 with four minutes remaining, but USC scored the final nine points of the game to close the game out.
Olin Carter III led the Toreros with 21 points, but needed 19 field goal attempts, making five of his 15 three-point tries. Brett Bailey scored 17 points. Carter and Bailey tied for a team high with seven rebounds.
USC shot 50.8 percent from the field while holding San Diego to just 31.6 percent. The Trojans also dominated on the boards, 44-28.
Here's three takeaways from USC's easy win in San Diego on Wednesady evening:
Boatwright Goes Down
It's not a good sign when a starter finishes a game with nearly all zeroes across his statline. Bennie Boatwright finished with one defensive rebound in three minutes before suffering a knee injury that Andy Enfield already expects will keep him out "for a while" if not the entire season.
Winning on the Boards
One of the concerns for USC coming into this season was defensive rebounding. After losing three of their top four rebounders, including team leader Nikola Jovanovic and per minute rebounding leader Darion Clark, the Trojans needed someone to step up. The answer has been for everyone to pitch in.
The Trojans have outrebounded six of their seven opponents, including Wednesday night against San Diego.
Against the Toreros' smaller frontcourt, every USC player that played more than three minutes grabbed at least three rebounds. Chimezie Metu led the way with 13 -- four of those coming on the offensive end. USC outrebounded their Southern California brethren, 44-28.
Tonight's discrepancy being so large stems from the Trojans' defense, which held San Diego to just 31.6 percent shooting -- a season low for a USC opponent. The Toreros made just 24 percent of their shots in the second half.
Chimezie Metu bounces back from an inconsistent performance with one of his best as a Trojan, producing a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double:
The undefeated Trojans return to Los Angeles, but will play down the street at the Staples Center as they take on BYU Saturday at 5 p.m. in the second half of the Hoophall LA doubleheader with Arizona and Gonzaga playing before. USC hasn't played the Cougars since a 74-68 win on Dec. 3, 2005. BYU (5-2) opened the year with four wins before losing a pair of high-scoring games against Valparaiso and Utah Valley before beating in-state challenger Utah State on Wednesday.
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