Nick Rakocevic scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half to lead Southern Cal to an 84-66 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Rakocevic finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
Onyeka Okongwu, who was averaging 20 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks in the Trojans’ first two wins, scored 12 points and had eight rebounds.
Jonah Mathews added 14 points off the bench and Max Agbonkpolo had nine first-half points for the Trojans, who remain perfect at 3-0.
Junior college transfer Douglas Wilson scored 15 points and David Wingett contributed 10 before fouling out to lead South Dakota State (3-1).
Despite just making 35 percent of their field goals, the Trojans held a 38-31 lead at halftime. USC held a decisive edge in rebounding in the first 20 minutes, grabbing nine offense boards to just one for the Jackrabbits.
Rakocevic put the Trojans ahead 7-6 with a layup at the 14:30 mark of the first half. That ignited a 19-4 run over the next seven minutes, culminating with an Okongwu layup and a 26-10 USC lead.
Wingett trimmed the deficit to seven at intermission with a layup.
Noah Freidel opened the second half with a 3-point jumper, and the Jackrabbits trailed by four at 38-34. South Dakota State got within one at 45-44 on a Brandon Key 3-pointer.
USC appeared to put the game out of reach when it answered with an 11-0 run, sparked by Quinton Adlesh, who connected on a pair of 3-pointers — his only points of the game.
Trailing 56-44, the Jackrabbits stormed back to get within three on Baylor Scheierman’s layup to make the score 59-56.
Rakocevic connected on three straight free throws and Isaiah Mobley’s layup pushed the lead back to eight.
USC committed 37 turnovers in its first two games. On Tuesday, the Trojans committed just 11 turnovers while South Dakota State turned the ball over 18 times.
—Field Level Media