USC defeats Cal State Northridge 95-79

BETH HARRIS (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Slowed by a slew of fouls, Southern California didn't resemble the high-octane offense new coach Andy Enfield made famous in last season's NCAA tournament.

The Trojans hope that will come in time.

For now, they were content to give Enfield his first victory and win their home opener for the sixth consecutive year.

Omar Oraby scored 17 points in USC's 95-79 win over Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night in a matchup of new coaches Enfield and former UNLV and NBA star Reggie Theus.

''It's nice to win your first game on your home floor,'' Enfield said.

Theus is back in college basketball for the first time in six years.

''I love college basketball,'' he said. ''I live 10 minutes away from here, down the street and around the corner, so it's nice. I have a lot of friends here.''

Oraby, who at 7-foot-2 towered over everyone, finished one point off his career high. Bryon Wesley added 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Nikola Jovanovic had 11 points for the Trojans (1-1), who played the first of four games at Galen Center in the next 10 days.

''Great feeling,'' Jovanovic, a freshman from Serbia, said about getting Enfield his initial victory. ''Also first win for me.''

Josh Greene scored 19 points, and Stephen Maxwell had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Matadors (1-1). Theus, who coached in the NBA, was hired in April to boast the basketball fortunes of the Big West school. He's working with a roster that includes nine new players and six returnees.

''If I was grading effort I thought that our effort was a very high level, and they didn't quit,'' Theus said. ''I told our guys as long as they play hard, I'll fight with you to the end. I really believe that if our guys play that hard night in and night out we're going to win our share of basketball games.''

The announced attendance was 4,116, although there were plenty of empty seats for Enfield's first home game, typical of the attendance for basketball games at the football-dominated school.

''As long as we're winning, we're going to attract more people,'' Oraby said. ''Everyone is excited about the new coaching staff and new style of play.''

Trailing by 11 at halftime, the Matadors whittled their deficit down to 58-54 on two free throws by Greene.

From there, the Trojans took over with a 26-7 run, including nine straight points, which pushed their lead to 84-61 with just over five minutes left. Oraby scored seven of their nine points during one stretch in which the Trojans kept feeding him down low. J.T. Terrell added eight points in the spurt.

''We're still trying to figure out everybody's roles on the team, but as you can see we're pretty deep,'' Wesley said.

Terrell didn't start the game because of what Enfield said was academic reasons. Pe'Shon Howard and Strahinja Gavriolovic also were benched, with two freshmen and a sophomore replacing the trio.

''My teammates did a great job finding me in the post,'' Oraby said. ''I feel very comfortable. I worked a lot in the offseason on my conditioning to fit into an up-tempo offense.''

The Trojans lost 78-65 at Utah State in their season opener last Friday, Enfield's debut after leaving Florida Gulf Coast, where he took the tiny school on a surprising run to the final 16 of the NCAA tournament in March.

''We played terrible on Friday,'' Oraby said. ''We wanted to get over that and start from now.''

Under Enfield, FGCU became known as Dunk City for its fast-paced offense that culminated in slam dunks. The Trojans have yet to adopt that identity, getting just three against the Matadors.

The Matadors closed to 24-23 when USC went on an 18-8 run to end the first half. Wesley scored six points, Oraby had four and Howard three in the spurt that extended the Trojans' lead to 42-31 at the break.

The pace was bogged down by a combined 48 fouls in the game. USC went 16 of 26 from the line; Northridge was 28 of 37.

The Trojans shot 57 percent from the floor and had 14 turnovers, while the Matadors were held to 33 percent shooting and committed 13 turnovers.

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