Ellis scores 22 points in his homecoming to lead No. 23 USC over Seton Hall
SAN DIEGO -- — Boogie Ellis scored 22 points in his homecoming and Joshua Morgan blocked a school-record 10 shots for No. 23 Southern California, which blew most of a 20-point lead before beating Seton Hall 71-63 in the Rady Children's Invitational on Thursday with Bronny James sitting near the end of the bench.
James was on the court for pregame warmups for the second straight game, although he mostly watched from under the basket, did some rebounding and then took three shots from the corner.
The son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has yet to make his collegiate debut after it was determined he had a congenital heart defect that was treatable and the team has not given a timetable.
“It's just cool to be back home,” said Ellis, a fifth-year senior who played at Mission Bay High before starting his college career at Memphis. “It was a great experience. I'm glad I got to play in front of my family on Thanksgiving.”
Isaiah Collier scored 15 and Kobe Johnson 13 for USC (4-1).
Kadary Richmond scored 18, Dre Davis 15 and Jaden Bediako 12 for Seton Hall (4-1).
Ellis scored five points during an 11-0 run that helped the Trojans take a 32-22 halftime lead.
Ellis and Collier each hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the second half that expanded the lead to 38-22 and forced Seton Hall to call timeout. Vincent Iwuchukwu hit two free throws and Collier had a steal and a slam dunk for a 20-point lead before Seton Hall got its first points of the half.
The Pirates came back behind Bediako and Richmond, and pulled to 56-53 on Richmond's layup with 4 minutes to go, but got no closer. Ellis hit six free throws in the final 1:07.
“We've got a lot of young guys. We've got to make sure we grow up and take advantage of our opportunities," said Ellis, who made four 3-pointers. "Being up 20, we've just go to step on their throat and keep grinding it out. ... We've got to finish it out and win by 20 or 30.”
Coach Andy Enfield said the Trojans were “a little fatigued” midway through the second half. “I thought we made some careless mistakes on offense. We just weren't efficient. We started turning the ball over and then we gave up offensive rebounds on the other end and they were getting to the rim. We probably should have gone zone a little earlier to try to prevent some of those drives.”
Oklahoma beat Iowa 79-67 in the opener.
Seton Hall: The Pirates came in ranked 21st nationally in scoring defense (59.0 ppg) and 26th in 3-point defense (24.8%). USC made 10 of 23 3-pointers (43.5%).
USC: The Trojans came into the tournament after two shaky efforts at home, including a 70-60 loss to UC Irvine and an 81-70 win against Brown in which they led by just three at halftime.
Seton Hall will play Iowa in Friday's second game.
USC will play Oklahoma in the first game.
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