LAS VEGAS — Boogie Ellis had 24 points and eight rebounds as No. 21 Southern California defeated Kansas State 82-69 in the season opener for both teams Monday night.
The Trojans led by 19 with 6:33 left, but that margin was trimmed to eight with 1:41 remaining before USC held on.
“We've got a lot of vets and people that are experienced and been through it,” Ellis said. “So we just stayed calm and came together.”
Touted freshman Isaiah Collier made his USC debut with 18 points, including 15 in the first half. He added six assists and received a standing ovation when he went to the bench after fouling out with 4:50 to play.
“I thought Isaiah played a great first half, first game on the big stage here in Las Vegas. I thought it was important for us to get out to a fast start,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “I thought Boogie and Isaiah really controlled the tempo in the first half. Isaiah got downhill and was able to get to the rim, made some great passes. ... I was proud of the six assists and 7 of 9 from the field. Very efficient tonight.”
Kobe Johnson finished with 16 points for the Trojans, and Joshua Morgan had 11. USC shot 31 of 60 from the floor (51.7%).
Tylor Perry led Kansas State with 22 points. Cam Carter scored 15, and David N’Guessan had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“This is exactly why we came here,” Wildcats coach Jerome Tang said. “This is a really good USC team. High-level players. The great thing is that we don’t have to wait for a month or two weeks or before the Big 12 to find out the things that we need to work on. It was very much exposed. ... We did a couple of good things and a whole bunch of not-so-good things.”
A strong defensive team last season, the Trojans limited the Wildcats to 31% shooting (22 of 71).
USC held its opponents under 40% in 19 of 33 games last season and finished eighth in the country in field goal percentage defense at 39.3%.
Kansas State, which reached the Elite Eight in March, dropped to 4-2 all-time against the Trojans.
Bronny James wore grey team sweats and cheered his USC teammates from the bench. The son of NBA career scoring leader LeBron James is still on his way back from suffering a cardiac arrest during a summer workout. LeBron James said last month that his son had surgery to repair a congenital heart condition that caused the collapse.
Kansas State: The Wildcats opened their season away from home for the first time since losing 73-64 to BYU in 2002. Kansas State dropped to 12-17 when starting outside Manhattan, Kansas.
USC: Collier’s performance came on the heels of an impressive one by fellow freshman JuJu Watkins, who led USC’s 21st-ranked women’s team to an 83-74 win over No. 7 Ohio State. Collier and Watkins were considered by many the consensus No. 1 recruits for 2023.
Kansas State hosts Bellarmine on Friday.
USC hosts Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday.