LOS ANGELES (AP) –– Byron Wesley scored 15 points, Nikola Jovanovic added 14 and Southern California defeated West Alabama 73-57 on Thursday night for the Trojans’ fourth consecutive win at home.
Ten different players scored for the Trojans (4-1), who under new coach Andy Enfield are off to their best start since 2008, when they were 6-1. Omar Oraby added 13 points and eight rebounds. Wesley also had eight rebounds and four assists.
The Trojans shot 45 percent from the floor, went 11 of 15 from the free throw line and controlled the boards, 48-34. They owned a 32-20 edge in the paint in the campus game played as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that will take the Trojans to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend.
Desmond Raymond scored 18 points and Sandy Underwood had 15 of his 16 in the first half for the Tigers (1-1).
The game was an exhibition for the Division II Tigers of the Gulf South Conference. They lost to UTEP 67-46 in another exhibition last Sunday.
West Alabama kept it closer in the second half on the strength of its 3-point shooting. The Tigers made eight 3-pointers in the half, including five during a 19-3 run that got them to 62-54 after trailing by 24 points earlier. Cordell Pope made three straight 3s, Raymond scored seven points and Jarell Byrd added another 3 in the spurt.
From there, the Trojans closed out the final four minutes on an 11-3 run.
The Trojans opened the game on a 22-9 run that included three 3-pointers. The Tigers rallied with a 9-2 run to close to 22-18.
USC answered by outscoring the Tigers 23-7 to end the half leading 45-25. Jovanovic scored seven points and Oraby added five.
USC guard J.T. Terrell is ineligible for the rest of the fall semester because of academic reasons, a decision announced by Enfield just before tipoff.
Enfield said that depending upon the results of first semester exams, Terrell could be eligible after the fall semester ends on Dec. 18.
Terrell averaged 10 points in the Trojans’ first three games