Wide talent gap exists between Bruins and Trojans

UCLA's Kevon Looney presented a huge matchup problem for USC on Wednesday night at the Galen Center. Looney netted 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Bruins' win.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As it turns out it would have been a sleepless night for USC head coach Andy Enfield regardless. Or something close to it.

Nevermind his team’s 83-66 loss to UCLA on Wednesday night, Enfield has to be up bright and early for a 6:25 a.m. flight Thursday morning.

The goal?

"We’re going to go recruit for the future and keep building this program," Enfield said following his team’s loss on Wednesday night at Galen Center.

UCLA improved to 3-2 in Pac-12 play this season. While UCLA isn’t the cream of the crop of the conference, Enfield saw up close and personal how large the talent gap is between his team, which is 1-4 in conference play, and the Bruins.

He saw Norman Powell go off for a game-high 22 points as the senior improved to 4-0 in his career at Galen Center.

The USC coach watched as his young team allowed a five-point halftime deficit quickly balloon to an 18-point deficit less than five minutes into the second half.

During that stretch, it was good mix of UCLA freshman Kevon Looney inside and sophomore guard Bryce Alford outside.

As the half wore on, it was Powell scoring 17 second half points to seal the deal for the Bruins.  

"They put their heads down, drove to the basket, and made shots," Enfield said of the Bruins. "Then they kicked it out and made some tough threes with hands in their face. They were shot makers tonight. We weren’t.

"Our players have to get in the gym and improve their skill level. We don’t have anyone like Norman Powell that can do that. We’re hoping that a couple of our players can get in the gym and work on that and be like that but he’s a senior. He deserves it. He’s worked extremely hard. He is a terrific basketball player and he took over the game tonight in my eyes because he was so aggressive offensively in the second half. He had a very quiet first half and we couldn’t stop him."

With eight days until the Trojans return to action in a visit to Oregon, Enfield may or may not be looking for the next Norman Powell but he will certainly try to hit some home runs on the recruiting trail.

Freshman Jordan McLaughlin was the first big recruit to sign with Enfield since he was named head coach. He has signatures from two 2015 top-60 players in the country, Lawndale’s Chimezie Metu and Village Christian’s Bennie Boatwright, for next season.

It’s clear, Enfield is in search of more talent. That 6:25 a.m. flight can’t come soon enough.