USC pulls away from Loyola Marymount in 77-61 win
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The college game appeared a bit fast for Jordan McLaughlin at first.
Things are now visibly starting to slow down for Southern California’s freshman point guard, though, and his entire team is benefiting.
McLaughlin scored 18 points, dished out seven assists and led four players in double figures to propel Southern California to a 77-61 win over Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night.
“He’s learning how to control the game,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said of McLaughlin, who was not made available to the media. “He’s still young and there are times in the game where he makes bad decisions, but Jordan wants to be a great player and he’s on his way.”
McLaughlin entered as USC’s leading scorer but had arguably his most complete game. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder added four rebounds and three steals and, most importantly, turned it over only three times.
He had turned it over 13 times in his first three games.
“He’s matured quickly I think,” Enfield said. “He learned you can’t throw the ball all over the (arena).”
With McLaughlin facilitating and running the show efficiently, USC’s entire offense flourished.
Julian Jacobs scored 14 points, Nikola Jovanovic had 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Katin Reinhardt added 11 points for the Trojans (5-3), who have won three straight.
USC led the entire second half by at least three possessions and had 17 fast-break points compared to just four for LMU (3-4).
“Jordan is a natural leader and it’s really easy to play with him,” Jacobs said. “I thought he’s been playing great this whole season but he’s been cutting down on his turnovers and getting better every single day.”
USC limited the Lions to 36.8 percent shooting, the sixth time in eight games the Trojans have held their opponent under 40 percent.
Evan Payne scored 19 for LMU and was their only player in double figures. The Lions committed 16 turnovers as they dropped their second straight.
“Everything needs to be more consistent,” Lions coach Mike Dunlap said. “We need to work on everything.”
Tied at 16-16 midway through the first half, USC found its stride and exploded for a 20-5 run to close the half. Nine different Trojans scored during the spurt, highlighted by 3-pointers from Reinhardt, Jacobs and Malik Marquetti, as USC rolled into halftime up 36-21.
The Trojans couldn’t quite keep up that dominance but nonetheless led comfortably throughout the second half. Jacobs scored 10 of his 14 points after the break to keep LMU at bay, and the Lions never got closer than nine.
With the game already firmly in hand, the Trojans went on a 13-4 run in the final minutes to turn it into a blowout. McLaughlin hooked up with Jacobs on a vicious alley-oop dunk to get the run started.
“The last few games we’ve just watched ourselves on film and we know we’re capable of beating good teams and anyone we play,” Reinhardt said. “We’re learning we can do a lot of good things.”
LMU: Payne entered averaging 21.7 points per game. He had scored at least 20 points in five of the Lions first six games this season.This was the first game of a six-game road trip for the Lions. They’re next home game isn’t until Dec. 29....Dunlap was an assistant coach at USC from 1986-89.
USC: Jovanovic finished two rebounds shy of his third straight double-double.The Trojans are averaging 11.4 turnovers their last five games. They averaged 18.7 turnovers in their first three contests.USC improved to 48-8 all-time against LMU. The Trojans have lost to the Lions only twice since 1976.
LMU: Visits Northern Arizona on Dec. 13.
USC: Hosts Utah State on Sunday.