After losing their first game to Villanova, USC ended the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on a good note with an 84-78 victory over Xavier.
Pe’Shon Howard continued his strong week by leading all scorers with 23 points, which ties his career high. He made all four of his free throw attempts and went 3-7 from three point range. He also added seven assists.
Semaj Christon led Xavier with 21 points and seven assists. He also created four steals.
Omar Oraby had a quiet game with just four points on 2-4 shooting. He didn’t shoot a free throw and logged just three rebounds.
However, USC got good productions out of Byron Wesley, who had 15 points and 7 rebounds, and Julian Jacobs, who tied Howard with seven assists and added 14 points and seven rebounds.
The two teams traded runs in the first half, with Xavier dropping eight in a row to take a 23-18 lead before USC’s Nikola Jovanovic answered with eight points of his own and the Trojans stormed forward on a 13-point run which put the game at 23-31.
USC extended that lead to 34-45 with a Jacobs dunk before the half came to an end.
Early in the second half, the Trojans advanced the lead further. By the midway point, they were ahead by 24 points.
As they have become accustomed to this season, the men of Troy let that big lead slip away late.
Xavier, trailing 51-71 with just under four minutes to play, went on an 11-point run to close the gap, then battled in the final minute to get as close as six points with 20 seconds remaining.
Byron Wesley missed, then made a free throw to extend it back to six and the Trojans held on for the victory.
USC next faces Boston College on December 7.