Boogie Ellis looks to inflict some hurt on the hometown school when No. 24 Southern California battles San Diego State on Friday night in the Wooden Legacy championship game at Anaheim, Calif.
Ellis was one of the nation's elite recruits at San Diego's Mission Bay High School before beginning a college carousel that has seen him land at USC.
Ellis initially committed to Duke prior to the 2018-19 high school season before later backing off the following May and instead signing with Memphis. He spent two seasons with the Tigers before entering the transfer portal after last season and eventually chose the Trojans.
He displayed stellar form on Thursday night when he scored 17 points during a 70-55 victory over Saint Joseph's to match his team-leading season average. Ellis has scored at least 17 in four of five games while helping USC to a 5-0 start.
The Trojans held a 12-point halftime advantage and led by as many as 20 in the easy victory.
"I was trying to give the game a lot of effort and to communicate really well and to always stay calm," Ellis said. "I felt that we controlled the game the entire time, we had them on the heels the entire time and there weren't really any points in the game when we were really rattled."
San Diego State (4-1) also was impressive on Thursday as it delivered a convincing 73-56 victory over Georgetown.
The Aztecs held the Hoyas to 35.1 percent from the field and 4 of 20 from behind the arc. Georgetown was 6 of 22 from the field (27.3 percent) in the second half and missed its final 10 attempts.
Matt Bradley posted 18 points and seven rebounds while Lamont Butler scored a career-high 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting as San Diego State topped 70 points for the first time this season.
"We got so many contributions from so many people," Aztecs assistant coach David Velasquez said on the school's postgame radio show. "A lot of it has to do with (the players') comfort level. It takes time."
Fifth-year San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher earned his 100th win in 132 career games.
Beating Georgetown was big in the eyes of Velasquez.
"When you're at San Diego State, you have a huge chip on your shoulder when you play these games," Velasquez said. "First of all, half these teams don't want to play us."
Perhaps USC is included in that list as the two schools haven't met in nine years despite being a two-hour bus ride away.
The Trojans hold a 10-3 series edge over San Diego State, but the Aztecs won the past two. The most recent encounter was a 66-60 Aztecs victory at Los Angeles on Nov. 25, 2012.
USC also received a lift Thursday from backup big man Joshua Morgan. He contributed 13 points and six rebounds while playing 21 minutes.
The point total was Morgan's highest in two seasons with the Trojans. He began his career by playing one season at Long Beach State.
"I feel that I'm progressing a lot on my game," Morgan said. "It's not that I didn't have confidence before, but now I feel I'm settling in more into my role with USC. I've been playing looser, and that shows I'm more confident."
--Field Level Media