QUOTES & NOTES – USC 70, Saint Joseph’s 55

USC coach Andy Enfield – “It was a good team win. I thought our defense was outstanding. Drew Peterson played really well against their best player (forward Jordan) Hall, our bigs switched well when they had to on (forward Taylor) Funk and challenged most of his shots. Joshua (Morgan, center) did a great job tonight in the paint blocking and challenging shots. They’re a really good three-point shooting team and we held them to 6-31. Our guys made a really great effort in terms of challenging everything they shot.” (On rebounding well) “We’re a good rebounding team, we’re big and long and we need our guards to rebound. Isaiah Mobley (forward) is a terrific rebounder, he had 11 tonight, and we also did well between Chevez (Goodwin, forward) and Josh, but our guards have to rebound too. It’s a key to our team because we challenge a lot of shots in the perimeter, so it’s a team effort. But I think we did a pretty good job tonight.” (On forcing ten turnovers in the first half) “Saint Joseph’s are very dangerous because they shoot so many threes and they spread you out. We’re bigger and sometimes it’s hard to chase smaller guys in the perimeter. We were very active with our hands and our bigs did a great job in getting out to the shooter and forcing them to put the ball back on the floor and when they tried to pass, we had a few deflections that caused turnovers.” (On Joshua Morgan’s development) “Josh is one of the best defensive big man we’ve had here at USC. He has great footwork and great timing on his challenging and shot-blocking and is a good rebounder. His offense is developing. Tonight, he made some great finishes and gathered himself and finished a couple of times around the rim with both hands and made a jump shot. Defensively, he’s outstanding and we’re really excited for his development.”

USC center Joshua Morgan – “I’d say the thing I’ve developed the most was cementing my defensive presence, whether it was in Long Beach or here. For me, coming from Long Beach I really wanted to make sure that my defense would transition over.” (On being more confident on the court) “I definitely feel more confident. Even from the start of the season to now, I feel that my confidence is getting better and better. I feel that I’m progressing a lot on my game. It’s not that I didn’t have confidence before, but now I feel I’m settling in more into my role with USC. I’ve been playing looser and that shows I’m more confident.”

USC guard Boogie Ellis – “I was trying to give the game a lot of effort and to communicate really well and to always stay calm. I felt that we controlled the game the entire time, we had them on the heels the entire time and there weren’t really any points in the game when we were really rattled, so I thought that we did a great job in controlling the pace of the game and waiting for them to break down.”

Saint Joseph’s coach Billy Lange – “I’m honored to play in any event that has the name of John Wooden attached to it, so thank you for having us. USC, they are a top-25 team, so you can’t make mistakes. We didn’t get to the foul line enough, we had ten turnovers at halftime and they had ten offensive rebounds. That alone breaks any rhythm you have. Those were ten opportunities to get loose baskets and the ten turnovers are 30 potential points we give away. We didn’t really give ourselves a chance. In the second half we cut the lead to seven but there were three or four possessions where I don’t know if we were as connected as we needed to be. If we go into halftime with a six or seven-point game instead of 12, it’s a different game. Coming back from 12 against USC is very challenging. But I’m proud of our guys, we fought and I’m excited about tomorrow.” (On shooting 31 three-pointers during the match) “I’m fine with 31 threes if they’re good shots. In some of those shots, they put us on late-clock situations, so those were not good looks. That’s sort a product of the ten turnovers as well. When you have ten turnovers, you don’t get in a rhythm to have good shots. Our players were trying to go out there and individually make up for that, but you got to give USC credit, that’s what they do.” (On what makes USC difficult to play against) “They’re big, as are we. When you get into the lane, if you’re not willing to be fundamental and pivot and find a way to make the right pass, you’ll end up getting shots that are not pretty good. We did the same thing to them in some of their shots, so we know how to do it. It’s focus and going into a game against a team like USC and their defense, you have to know that you’re not going to break them in your first drive, especially in the first 25-30 minutes of the game. I thought that tonight we were better than last week, so we we’re growing but sometimes growing and winning doesn’t always happen at the same time.” (On bouncing back on their second match) “I think that when you’re not playing in the championship, you don’t get that natural energy that most people would have. But we came here ready to play two games and all three opponents we could potentially have are all really good, so the challenges are to recover physically and mentally. But we have a chance to represent the history of Saint Joseph’s basketball and we have no choice but to be ready to play.”

Saint Joseph’s center Ejike Obinna – “We didn’t play hard enough. It’s a learning moment for us, it’s a long season and we’ll learn from it and move on.” (On facing a physical USC team) “It was pretty tough. I expected them to be very physical and to come to play. I was ready to play pretty hard, that’s my number one thing as a player. I was trying to play hard and help us win this game, but unfortunately we lost. It’s going to be the same approach tomorrow and every day. We keep getting better and with time we’ll start winning these games.”

Wooden Chips

Southern Cal (5-0)

St. Joseph’s (2-3)