(Sports Network) - Shooting for a 2-0 start for the second straight season, the USC Trojans entertain the Santa Clara Broncos in non-conference action at the Galen Center tonight.
USC, which has started 2-0 just once in the last nine seasons, kicked off 2010-11 two days ago with a home date against UC Irvine. The meeting between Golden State rivals favored the Trojans as the hosts picked up a 62-49 victory for head coach Kevin ONeill in his second season.
As for the Broncos, who are under the guidance of Kerry Keating, their campaign began on Friday night with a close call against CSU Bakersfield. Nevertheless, SCU still managed to come away with the 82-77 victory. After tonight's bout the Broncos head home for three straight dates before heading to Las Vegas for a tournament near the end of the month.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, USC holds a mark of 21-8 versus the broncos, although it was SCU that posted a convincing 74-54 win in the most recent encounter back in 1983.
In a game that saw 10 ties and 15 lead changes, Santa Clara barely played well enough to dismiss CSU Bakersfield in the opener last week, slipping by with a five-point home win. The Broncos turned the ball over 16 times and shot a mere 26-of-40 at the free-throw line, not to mention 6-of-22 behind the three-point line as well. Marc Trasolini registered a double-double consisting of 17 points and 10 rebounds, one of four players in double figures for the home team, while Kevin Foster accounted for a team-best 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field before picking up his fifth personal foul. Evan Roquemore and Ben Dowdell chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Foster is the top returning scorer for the squad after putting up 19.8 ppg, but he played just six games for the Broncos in 2009-10, which means Trasolini was more of a threat on the whole with his 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.
Improving to 42-9 in the last 51 home openers, the Trojans took advantage of their expertise in the paint to register a 47-26 rebounding edge over UC Irvine last week. Nikola Vucevic matched a career high with 19 points and cleared a team-best 14 rebounds as he logged the 11th double-double of his career in the victory. Bryce Jones accounted for 14 points and eight boards, but along the way he shot just 33.3 percent from the floor. The same goes for Maurice Jones who, having played all 40 minutes, connected on only 4-of-12 from the field as he tallied 13 points in the decision. As a whole, the Trojans had a horrible time shooting the ball, converting just 34.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent behind the three-point line, even though the latter stat was still better than the Anteaters who were limited to just 5- of-20 shooting out on the perimeter.
Both of these teams defeated weak opponents in their respective openers, and even though the Trojans won by double figures it seems as though they had the most trouble. With that being said, expect the Broncos to give USC a run for its money tonight.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Galen Center (10,258) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: None. Home Record: Santa Clara 1-0, USC 1-0. Away Record: Santa Clara 0-0, USC 0-0. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 0-0, USC 0-0. Conference Record: Santa Clara 0-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 21-8.