USC Basketball

Kevin Porter Jr. returns to the lineup and USC defeats Arizona 80-57

January 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES — Following a statement win vs. UCLA last week, the Trojans looked to build momentum in Pac-12 play as they welcomed the Arizona Wildcats to the Galen Center. The Wildcats, who came into the game 2nd in the Pac-12 standings, were simply unable to find their groove offensively all night.

USC got off to hot start, jumping out to a 14-7 lead behind 6 early points from Nick Rakocevic and stifling defense that drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

“I like the crowd, I’ve always been that type of guy,” said Nick Rakocevic. “The more people that are here the better I play. I just like playing in front of large groups of people.”

The game was also the return of freshman standout Kevin Porter Jr., who missed the previous few games due to a suspension. He returned to action tonight and promptly drilled a three-pointer to extend USC’s lead to 19-10. Porter Jr. finished the game with 14 points and 3 rebounds.

“Kevin came in and played within the flow of the offense and fit in perfectly,” Coach Enfield said. “He played hard and when it was his time to step up and make shots he hit three threes and made his free throws.”

At the half, the Trojans capped off a dominant first 20 minutes with a Derryck Thornton three-pointer as time expired to hold a 36-19 lead. USC outrebounded Arizona 28-17 and outscored them in the paint 20-10, mainly due to the Wildcats having no answer for Rakocevic down low. Sean Miller’s unit also struggled offensively, shooting a dismal 21% in the first half.

In the 2nd half, the Trojans maintained their intensity and stretched their lead to 20 off a Bennie Boatwright three pointer. Arizona struggled to find their shot all night and finished the game 5-25 from beyond the arc and 28% for the game.

Nick Rakocevic led the Trojans once again with a 27 point, 13 rebound double-double while Bennie Boatwright chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, after a tough Oregon road trip, USC has bounced back with two quality wins and have reinserted themselves into Pac-12 contention.

Up next, USC will welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils to the Galen Center on Saturday at 5:00.

Tags: Basketball
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