Men’s basketball takes on Texas A&M on the road

first_imgAnvay Ullal | Daily TrojanMoney Metu · Sophomore forward Chimezie Metu delivered his first double-double of the season on Sunday against Omaha in the win.To say everything is bigger in Texas is a fitting statement when looking at the men’s basketball team’s upcoming Friday matchup with Texas A&M. The Trojans will take to the road for the first time this season as they travel out to play against the Aggies in College Station, Texas, in a non-conference contest. The game will undoubtedly be the biggest test on the young season for both USC and Texas A&M — both teams enter the game at 2-0, coming off of consecutive double-digit victories. USC is coming off of a 82-72 victory over Omaha on Sunday, while the Aggies are coming off of a 76-53 win over American on Monday night.Friday night’s big game against a solid SEC opponent in Texas A&M will also pit USC against the Aggies’ large frontcourt — which features players averaging 6-foot-10 in height and 231 pounds in weight.Leading the way for the Aggies’ big men is Tyler Davis, who currently leads Texas A&M in scoring (averaging 16.5 points per game) through two games. At 6-foot-10, 270 pounds, with a diverse offensive skill set, Davis has proven to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. “We’ve just got to find ways to deny [Davis] the ball defensively,” said USC sophomore forward Chimezie Metu, who recorded his first double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) of the season Sunday against Omaha. “When he does catch it, we’ve got to play him straight up and be physical with him.”Over the course of its first two games against Montana and Omaha, USC needed second-half surges to outlast opponents for the victories. In the season opener against Montana last Friday, USC found itself trailing by 11 points early in the first half before storming back for the 75-61 win. In its victory over Omaha Sunday, USC trailed by three points at the half before outscoring the Mavericks 48-35 in the second half for the win.“Against a really, really good team you don’t want to get down early, because they might be able to keep you down for the rest of the game,” junior guard Jordan McLaughlin said. “Especially on the road you always have to get off to a good start that way you can keep the crowd down as quiet as possible — we have to get off to a good start.”The Trojans are coming off of two double digit victories to commence the new season. In these impressive, come-from-behind victories, the youth of the team has been highly involved and has shined on several occasions. Freshman guards De’Anthony Melton, Jonah Mathews and forward Nick Rakocevic all saw significant playing time during the first weekend of their collegiate basketball careers. Melton averaged 9.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and three assists and totaled a team-high five steals through the first two games. “I love playing defense. Defense is what gets me going because it can lead to easy buckets on the other end,” said Melton, who had a game-high three steals against Omaha. “It makes [our opponents] more hesitant on offense, they have to think about making passes more.” Texas A&M has also been the beneficiary of strong contributions from freshmen early on, as freshman Aggies forward Robert Williams scored 10 points against American on Monday and has totaled seven blocks through his first two college games. Both USC and Texas A&M have had solid showings on the glass early on in the season. USC has, on average, outrebounded opponents by a margin of 8 RPG; the Aggies have outrebounded opposing teams by 9.5 RPG this season. Extra possessions earned on rebounds may play a pivotal role. “I’m just trying to fill the void that [former players] who aren’t here anymore left behind rebounding-wise,” said Metu, who is averaging nine rebounds per game. “I think it’s going to be a really fun game … [Texas A&M] is a good team, we’re a good team — it should be a competitive one.”last_img

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