USC was minutes removed from one of its biggest victories of the season last week, and Coach Andy Enfield was stuck holding a door.
By chance, Enfield had walked into a postgame interview room at the same time media members were filing in, a short time after USC’s 14-point win against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
Enfield reached for the door and swung it open. A few reporters filed past. Enfield waved them on.
“Oh, no, go ahead,” Enfield said. “You guys have been so good to us the past two years.”
Enfield smirked. After three consecutive wins — over Arizona State, Arizona and UCLA — the Trojans had sprung to the top of the Pac-12 Conference standings. They were receiving more attention than they had since Enfield was hired in 2013.
This week, even TMZ noticed the team at Los Angeles International Airport and deemed it worthy of a video. (Spoiler: Sophomore Malik Martin is not a fan of the Rams’ move to Los Angeles: “because they’re just going to take all my girls.”)
USC had seven days off after its win at UCLA. There was plenty of time for watching highlights and reading articles about the team, and “naturally, you go do it,” forward Bennie Boatwright said.
How would USC handle it?
The Trojans lost their first game back, on Thursday, 89-81, to Oregon.
But effort and composure were not a problem. USC missed open three-pointers throughout the game, and Oregon punished the Trojans repeatedly with drives to the basket.
“This game had nothing to do with six or seven or eight days off,” Enfield said. “This game had to do with Oregon playing better than us.”
Boatwright and guard Julian Jacobs agreed.
Boatwright said the coaching staff had been particularly quick to jump on mistakes during practice this week.
“Oh, the coaches keep us humble. Definitely,” Boatwright said. “They don’t let the wins get to our heads.”