LOS ANGELES | The Florida A&M University men’s basketball team trailed by one at the end of the first half, but could not slow down USC in a 77-48 loss to the Trojans to open the season on Tuesday night at the Galen Center.
The Rattlers (0-1) trailed, 24-23, at the break, but the Trojans (1-0) outscored FAMU in the second half, 53-25.
DJ Jones paced Florida A&M with 12 points, four rebounds and two steals. Bryce Moragne chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Evins Desir added nine points, eight boards, one assist, one block and one steal.
Onyeka Okongwu led USC with a game-high 20 points, on 9-of-13 shooting, and 13 rebounds for the double-double, along with a game-high eight blocked shots and one steal. Isaiah Mobley registered 17 points, seven boards, two assists, two blocks and one steal, while Max Agbonkpolo added 10 points off the bench.
Florida A&M grabbed a 10-6 advantage after a Brendon Myles layup with 12:15 remaining, but USC pulled even and took a 15-12 lead after an Elijah Weaver bucket with just under nine minutes left in the opening half.
It would be a back and forth affair for the final eight-plus minutes as the Trojans took a slim, 24-23, lead into the break.
USC opened the second half on a 10-2 run, capped by a Jonah Matthews jumper with 16:38 left in the second half.
The Rattlers trimmed the deficit to 36-29 after a bucket by Evins Desir with 15:40 remaining, but the Trojans used a small 7-3 run to push the margin to 43-32 after an Isaiah Mobley layup with just over 12 minutes left.
Florida A&M struggled from the floor over a five-minute stretch in the half and USC took advantage with a 13-3 run to take a 56-35 advantage with 7:44 remaining.
The Rattlers could not recover from the big deficit in dropping the season opener.
Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M shot 32.3 percent (20-of-62) from the floor and 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from the charity stripe
> USC was 30-of-67 (44.8 percent) from the field and 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) from the foul line
> FAMU registered 40 rebounds, including 26 on the defensive glass
> USC pulled down 49 rebounds, with 32 coming on the defensive end
> The Rattlers finished with 32 points in the paint, 19 bench points, 16 points off 17 USC turnovers, 12 second-chance points and nine fastbreak points
> The Trojans recorded 50 points in the paint, 26 bench points, 21 fastbreak points, 15 points off 19 FAMU turnovers and 14 second-chance points
Florida A&M opens the 55th Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic on Friday against host Hawai’i. Tip-off against the Warriors is set for 12 a.m. Friday night/Saturday morning at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i and the game will be streamed live on BigWest.TV.
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