- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - There was plenty for Southern California coach Andy Enfield to smile about after his team put away UC Santa Barbara 96-72 on Sunday night.

His biggest smile came when he mentioned the Trojans’ 25 assists on 33 baskets, a number that even made him overlook his team shooting 35 3-pointers.

“We shot 40 percent, made 14, but we had 25 assists so I can’t get too upset with our players,” Enfield said. “We’ve got some good shooters on this team. But 25 assists, that’s a lot. So we did a good job of finding the open man, making the extra pass.”

The Trojans (6-0) are off to their best start since 2000-01 when they opened with an 8-0 mark.

“A 6-0 start is great,” said Enfield. “We’re thrilled. I think we’re all thrilled because we’ve played some good teams.”

Bennie Boatwright scored 21 points, Elijah Stewart had 18 points, and Chimezie Metu and Shaqquan Aaron added 15 apiece for the Trojans. Jordan McLaughlin finished with 13 points.

“He’s much more comfortable,” McLaughlin said of Boatwright, who missed the Trojans’ first two games with upper back spasms. “He’s coming off an injury and got out of rhythm. He got the first couple of games out of his system, and now he’s back to shooting the ball. He’ll be fine.”

In control throughout, USC remained content to attack the Gauchos from the outside, taking 35 of their 61 shots from beyond the arc, making 14.

“They’ve got really good shooters, and they shoot the ball extremely well” Gaucho coach Bob Williams said. “They shot the ball really well when they got up.”

Jalen Canty had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead UC Santa Barbara (0-5). Gabe Vincent scored 15 points and Alex Hart added 14 for the Gauchos, which outscored the Trojans 46-30 in the paint.

The Gauchos scored the first basket of the game only to see the Trojans lead from the 18:50 mark of the first half. The Gauchos were still within 66-59 with 8:16 remaining before USC pulled away.

“The last five, six minutes the roof came off for them, and we didn’t play very well,” said Williams. “We fell apart the last five, six, seven minutes.”

BIG PICTURE

The Gauchos are 0-5, but opened last season with a 2-7 mark before rebounding to finish 19-14 overall, 11-5 in the Big West Conference.

USC has won 15 consecutive non-conference games at the Galen Center, beating UCSB in 13 out of the last 14 meetings. The Gauchos have not beaten the Trojans since 2002.

UP NEXT

UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos play their first home game of the season against Sonoma State on Thursday night.

USC: The Trojans play on the road for the first time this season Wednesday night at San Diego.

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