No. 24 USC Men's Basketball Faces Tough Test In San Diego State For Wooden Legacy Championship
The No. 24 USC Trojans (5-0) will face San Diego State (4-1) in the championship game of the 2021 Paycom Wooden Legacy tournament on Friday (Nov. 26) at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Trojans advanced to the title game thanks to a 70-55 victory over Saint Joseph's on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25). USC's 5-0 start matches the opening of the 2019-20 season and marks the fourth time in nine seasons under Head Coach Andy Enfield that the Trojans have opened a season at least 5-0.
THE 2021-22 TROJANS — The USC Trojans return six of their top eight scorers from the 2020-21 team which went 25-8, finished second in the Pac-12 by percentage points and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Gone are leading scorers Evan Mobley (NBA) and Tahj Eaddy (G-League), but back are forwards Isaiah Mobley, Chevez Goodwin and Max Agbonkpolo and guards Ethan Anderson, Drew Peterson and Isaiah White, almost all logging over 500 minutes of action last season. In all, 11 players return and the Trojans have added transfer guard Boogie Ellis, the AAC Co-Sixth Man of the Year, and three new freshmen, including California Gatorade Player of the Year guard Malik Thomas.
WOODEN LEGACY — The 2021 Wooden Legacy opens on Thursday with USC and Saint Joseph's at 6:30 p.m. and Georgetown and San Diego State facing off at 8:30 p.m. The first-day winners will meet at 8:30 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 26) and the other two teams will play at 6 p.m. The first day games will be carried on ESPN2 as will the second-day 8:30 p.m. game, while the 6:30 p.m. game will be on ESPNU. USC won the inaugural Wooden Legacy in 2007 (then called the Anaheim Classic) by defeating San Diego, Miami (OH) and No. 19 Southern Illinois.
WINNING WAYS — USC had a 47-17 record the last two seasons which ranked third among all of the schools in the six power basketball conferences (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, AAC and the Pac-12). The Trojans went 25-8 during the 2020-21 season and have won 20 or more games in five of the last six seasons under Andy Enfield. The 25 wins last season were tied for the second most in school history, one behind the USC record of 26 wins set in 2017 (26-10). USC's 134 wins in the last six seasons were tied for 15th among all of the Power 6 conference schools.
ROAD WARRIORS - USC has started 2-0 on the road with wins at Temple and FGCU. USC was the only power conference team to post two road victories in its first three games this season. Pac-12 teams are 3-6 in road games early in the season with two of the wins owned by USC. The last time USC opened with two true road wins in its first three games of a season was the 2008 season when it opened at home against Mercer, then won at The Citadel and at South Carolina. USC was 7-3 in road games last season.
FACING SAN DIEGO STATE - San Diego State (4-1) comes in having won its last three contests, including a 73-56 win over Georgetown in its opening game of the Wooden Legacy on Thursday. The Aztecs' lone loss this year came on the road at No. 18 BYU on 11/12. SDSU made the NCAA Tournament last season and has been in the tournament two of the last four seasons under Head Coach Brian Dutcher. USC is 10-3 all-time against the Aztecs, with the teams last playing in 2013. SDSU has won the last two meetings (2013 & 2012), while the Trojans won five in a row in the series prior to that.
HOUNDING THE HAWKS - Boogie Ellis once again led the way with 17 points, and the USC defense held Saint Joseph's to 55 points on 23-of-65 shooting (35.4%) as the Trojans picked up a 70-55 win in the opening game of the Wooden Legacy tournament on Thanksgiving Day. Despite making just four 3-pointers, USC's size bothered Saint Joseph's (2-3) as the Trojans scored 40 points in the paint. USC also continued its clean assist-toturnover ratio on Thursday, turning the ball over just seven times while dishing 12 dimes.
ENFIELD INDUCTED INTO THE FGCU HALL OF FAME - Andy Enfield and his 2012-13 Florida Gulf Coast basketball team were inducted into the FGCU Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 15, as part of its first-ever class.
BOOGIE LEADING THE WAY — Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis has been USC's leading scorer in three of the team's first five games this season, currently averaging a team-best 17.0 points per game. Ellis leads the Trojans in threes (9), free throws (12), steals (5) and minutes played (29.4). The junior guard has started all five games this season for USC and his 20 points in the Trojans' opener are tied for a team high this year. Ellis averaged 10.2 points per game and was the AAC co-Sixth Man of the Year last season at Memphis.