Pac-12 Tournament First Round Preview: No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 USC


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans vs. Colorado Buffaloes

MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, Nev.

2:30 pm | Pac-12 Network

All-Time Series: Colorado leads 6-3

Last meeting: Colorado 83, USC 74

With a 2-16 record in Pac-12 play, the USC Trojans finished last in the conference and limp into the Pac-12 tournament to face the No. 5 seed Colorado Buffaloes.

The Buffaloes got off to a 14-2 start this season, but struggled for the remainder of the season once leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie was lost to a knee injury.

Similarly, but not quite as hot of a start, the Trojans began their first season under coach Andy Enfield 9-4, but then suffered five and 10 game losing streaks, which would have been a 16-game losing streak if it weren’t for the Trojans upset win over California on Jan. 22.

The Buffaloes and Trojans first met on Jan. 18 when the Buffaloes were ranked No. 21 in the country. It was a one-sided affair with the Buffaloes jumping out to a quick 20-5 lead within the first 10 minutes of the game and they held a comfortable 17-point lead at halftime.

The Trojans put up 39 points in the second half, but never truly threatened and suffered the 83-62 loss. Josh Scott led the Buffaloes in scoring with 20 points, and Omar Oraby and J.T. Terrell both scored 16 for the Trojans.

Looking to avenge the blowout loss, the Trojans next shot at the Buffaloes came roughly one month later at the Galen Center. The Trojans put forth a better performance and trailed by only eight points after the first 20 minutes of action.

A Terrell layup cut the Buffaloes’ lead to four points six minutes into the second half, but the Trojans never got closer and wound up losing, 83-74. Five Buffalo players scored in double figures, led by Xavier Johnson’s 20 points. Terrell and Byron Wesley were the only Trojans to reach double digits in points, scoring 14 and 21, respectively.

The winner will advance to play No. 4 seed California Golden Bears in the second round on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

Probable starters:

Colorado Buffaloes:G #0 Askia Booker, 6-2, 170, Jr.G #3 Xavier Talton, 6-2, 180, So.F #1 Wesley Gordon, 6-9, 225, Fr.*F #2 Xavier Johnson, 6-7, 200, So.F #40 Josh Scott, 6-10, 245, So.

USC Trojans:G #10 Pe’Shon Howard, 6-3, 190, Sr.G #20 J.T. Terrell, 6-3, 185, Sr.G #22 Byron Wesley, 6-5, 201, Jr.F #32 Nikola Jovanovic, 6-10, 220, Fr.C #55 Omar Oraby, 7-2, 270, Sr.

*utilized redshirt season

Game 4: No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 Washington State, 8:36 p.m

Thursday, March 13:

Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. No. 1 Arizona, 12:06 p.m.

Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. No. 4 California, 2:36 p.m.

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. No. 2 UCLA, 6:06 p.m

Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. No. 3 Arizona State, 8:40 p.m

Friday, March 14

Game 9: Semifinal 1, 6:06 p.m.

Game 10: Semifinal 2, 8:40 p.m.

Saturday, March 15

Game 11: Pac-12 Championship, 3:02 p.m.