USC, UCLA Men Remain Unbeaten In Basketball
December 22, 2016
The Trojans and Bruins men's basketball teams are having dream seasons so far this year but the coaches realize college basketball has a lot of parity around the country.
On any given day a team can play one of their best games and beat you. But so far this season both teams are unbeaten.
The Bruins are 13-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation and at press time the Trojans are 10-0 and ranked No. 24 and both teams are enjoying being in the national spotlight.
"I am having a lot of fun coaching and watching this team play," said UCLA head coach Steve Alford after his team beat UC Santa Barbara 102-62 on December 14 at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus.
The Bruins are led by the guard play of freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Aaron Holiday, forwards TJ Leaf and Gyorgy Goloman and center Ike Anigbogu.
Everyone knew Ball was a great player coming out of Chino Hills High but the 6'10 Leaf has surprised a lot of people. Against UC Santa Barbara the freshman scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists. Against Ohio State last Saturday in Las Vegas Leaf scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the the 86-73 win over a good Big-10 team.
"TJ is impressive and I think he is playing at a high level right now," said Steve Alford. "He is a high level athlete and he knows how to make the right play."
UCLA's next game is their Pac-12 opener at No. 22 Oregon on Wednesday December 28 at 6 p.m. They stay on the road against Oregon State on Friday at 8 p.m. Their next home game is Thursday, January 5 at 6 p.m.
USC is led by guards Shaqquan Aaron, Jonah Mathews, Jordan McLaughlin, De'Anthony Melton, Elijah Stewart and forwards Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright.
"We are still a work in progress," said USC coach Andy Enfield last Sunday after their win over Pepperdine at the Galen Center. "We have six new players and we are extremely young."
The Trojans are off to their best start since 1971 and one of the main reasons why is the improvement of Stewart. "Elijah has been outstanding most of the season," said Enfield after the Pepperdine game. "He is a scorer and he can shoot the basketball.
"He is scoring the ball in the half court and the full court. He is driving to the basket extremely well, he is getting to the free throw line and he is rebounding the ball at a high level. He is becoming a more complete basketball player."
The Trojans' next games will be on the road on Friday (today) against Wyoming or DePaul in Las Vegas. They stay on the road when they open Pac-12 play against Oregon State on Wednesday, December 28 at 8 p.m. and they battle Oregon on Friday, December 30. Their next home game is against Stanford.