Jovanovic leads USC to victory over SIU-Edwardsville

    Dec. 22, 2015

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    LOS ANGELES (AP) Nikola Jovanovic had 21 points and 16 rebounds as USC beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 70-51 on Monday night for its fifth consecutive victory.

    Jordan McLaughlin added 12 points and six assists and Katin Reinhardt added 10 points or the Trojans (10-2), who are off to their best start since opening the 2001-02 season with a 13-2 mark.

    Carlos Anderson had 10 points and six rebounds and Jalen Henry added 10 points for SIU-Edwardsville (3-8), which had a two-game winning streak snapped.

    USC won this game with defense, harassing the physically overmatched Cougars squad into 19-of-67 shooting (28 percent) from the field. The Trojans blocked 10 shots, and forced forced SIUE into 19 turnovers.

    The Trojans took control by holding the Cougars to nine points over the final 11:10 of the first half, which included a scoreless stretch of nearly four minues.

    The Trojans outscored the ice-cold Cougars 29-9 during the stretch, taking a 39-21 lead on a 3-pointer by Elijah Stewart with 30 seconds left in the first half. The Cougars made just 9 of 37 from the field, which included having seven shots blocked by the Trojans in the opening 20 minutes.

    USC shot just as poorly over the opening eight minutes, starting out 5 of 18, before heating up to make 10 of 19 during the deciding run.

    SIU-Edwardsville could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

    The Trojans have two 5-game winning streaks this season for the first time since the 2008-09 season when they finished 22-13.

    USC hosts Lafayette on Wednesday.