• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Bronny James struggles offensively in USC’s win over Stanford


Jan 7, 2024 #Sports


LOS ANGELES — With LeBron James watching, Bronny James struggled with his shot for the first time this season. But USC‘s starting backcourt of Boogie Ellis and Isaiah Collier shined to help the Trojans win their second Pac-12 conference game in a row.

Collier, USC’s freshman standout point guard, scored a career-high 26 points to lift USC over Stanford 93-79 at the Galen Center.

Ellis, a senior guard, had 22 points, 4 assists and 3 steals while junior guard Kobe Johnson had 21 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks.

James, the eldest son of the Los Angeles Lakers star, failed to make a shot for the first time this season, going 0-for-4 from the field off the bench and snapping a two-game streak of scoring in double figures. But the freshman guard provided a lift on defense with two steals while also drawing a charge to go with two rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes.

James, who had missed just two free throws in his previous six games, went 2-for-5 from the line and finished with two points. This was James’ seventh game back after missing over four months after suffering cardiac arrest in late July. The freshman underwent a procedure to treat a congenital heart defect.

“He keeps improving,” USC coach Andy Enfield said of James, who has played under a minutes restriction while making his way back. “I thought he missed a couple of easy shots tonight, missed some free throws, which is OK, everybody does that. But he took the right shots, he played outstanding defense and he’s a big part of our team.”

James didn’t let his shot affect his hustle. With 7:57 remaining in the first half, James anticipated a timeout was coming and he jumped in front of Benny Gealer along the sideline to draw a charge.

“Bronny [is] a very smart basketball player,” Enfield said. “And he plays hard every possession and defensively he helps us. He gets deflections, he can guard the ball on smaller guys and he’s strong enough to guard bigger guys. So far, so good.”

After losing five of six games, USC (8-7, 2-2) has now won two straight at home. Ellis, Collier, the top recruit in this season’s freshman class, and Johnson are playing some of their best and most efficient basketball of the season. The trio combined to make 11 3-pointers.

James hopes to find his shot against Washington State at home Wednesday.

“He makes winning plays,” said Ellis, who made six 3-pointers. “It is great to have him on the floor. Whenever he’s in the game, he plays hard. We know we’re going to get that from him, so it’s just great to have somebody that sparks us coming off the bench and giving us great minutes, energy and impacting the game even when he’s not scoring.”


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