Sun, 24 Jan 2021

BYU, Southern California look to remain unbeaten

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2020, 06:19 GMT+10

Two teams looking to remain unbeaten square off Tuesday when Southern California faces BYU in the Roman Legends Classic at Uncasville, Conn.

Both teams have displayed good balance in the early going. The Trojans (2-0) have six players who are averaging at least 10 points per game and BYU (3-0) has four.

The tournament-style format was changed on Monday when Vanderbilt pulled out due to a positive COVID-19 test. The alterations leave USC playing Connecticut in its second game of the event while St. John's was added to face BYU.

The teams in the event will be in a bubble environment with coronavirus cases surging around the country.

"It will be very strict where we can and can't go," USC coach Andy Enfield told reporters. "We're hoping that it should be a very easy transition."

Freshman center Evan Mobley is living up to his McDonald's All-American billing and averaging 16 points and eight rebounds in the two wins. Drew Peterson also is making a difference with averages of 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Peterson scored a team-best 13 points in the Trojans' 76-62 home win over Montana on Saturday. All 10 USC players who entered the game scored points.

"We have a really unselfish team and it's showing so far," Peterson said after the triumph. "I think we're on the right track."

BYU won its first three games by an average of 32 points.

Senior guard Alex Barcello is leading the way with a 21.3 scoring average and has knocked down 11 of 15 3-point attempts.

Barcello scored a team-leading 20 points and was 5 of 6 from behind the arc in Saturday's 82-60 home win over Utah Valley. Four other players joined him in double digits in an effort that impressed coach Mark Pope.

"They fought the whole time, and I couldn't be happier with where we are," Pope said after the win. "We've got a long way to go. We've got to get way better, but we made it through the first three-game set that we knew was going to be a big challenge for us, so we're excited about that."

The Cougars made an average of 13 3-pointers during the stretch and connected on 42.9 percent of their attempts. Senior guard Brandon Averette (7 of 16), junior guard Connor Harding (7 of 14) and sophomore guard Trevin Knell (6 of 14) also were solid from long range.

Senior center Matt Haarms, a 7-foot-3 transfer from Purdue, had 10 points in 12 minutes off the bench against Utah Valley in his BYU debut.

USC has won seven of the 10 previous meetings. The Trojans won the most recent clash, 91-84 on Dec. 3, 2016 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

--Field Level Media

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