Los Angeles-The Howard University basketball team invaded USC’s Galen Center hoping for a stroke of upset flavor in their mouths. The Trojans didn’t allow that to happen. But they sure as heck had a game on their hands for the first 20 minutes.
For the greater part of the first half between the two teams, Howard hung around the Trojans and made a game of it, staying within striking range at intermission only down 29-26. However, going into the contest without its best player and top scorer, Howard found itself trying to keep up with the bigger, deeper Trojans in the second half.
That didn’t work out too well for the Bison, which lost the rebound battle to the Trojans, 48-26. Tyler Stone had a game-high six rebounds for Howard.
Howard could have used the 19.8 points per game that freshman James Daniel brings to the table every night. As it was, Daniel was out of the lineup nursing a toe injury. The Bison could have used his scoring punch in the second half.
With the New Year around the corner, the Trojans shook off their first-half holiday sluggish play and went on to defeat Howard 82-60 in front of an impartial crowd at the Galen Center. Byron Wesley led the Trojans with 20 points, while Solomon Mangham and Prince Okoroh finished the game with 11 points apiece for Howard.
USC outscored Howard 53-34 in the second half.
The game was kept close in the first half thanks to the aggressive play of Howard’s defense, which forced USC into 12 turnovers. The Trojans stopped turning the ball over in the second half and limited Howard to just 38 percent shooting from the field to pull away from the Bison. USC open Pac-12 play against UCLA on Jan. 5. Next up for Howard is College of Charleston in South Carolina on Jan. 4.