USC basketball improved their perfect home record to 15-0 with a furious 15-point comeback against Colorado at the Galen Center Wednesday, 79-72.
The lowdown: The Trojans made a point of attacking the basket early, scoring 12 of their first 14 points in the paint, but strong shooting from Colorado kept the Buffaloes ahead in the first half.
USC’s first six three-point attempts went astray while Colorado’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher knocked down two triples to help the Buffaloes build a six-point lead by the midway point of the half.
Jordan McLaughlin’s three ended a 6-0 Colorado run but George King responded with his own a minute later to extend the lead to nine points.
Poor shooting from the Trojans saw them enter halftime trailing 37-29.
Julian Jacobs gave USC a spark to start the second half. First he broke free with a steal but was fouled before he could finish the dunk. On the next Colorado possession he did it again, but this time he finished with a reverse dunk to pull USC within three.
Colorado survived the early run, however, and with ten minutes remaining Josh Fortune’s three make it a 13-point lead.
Elijah Stewart knocked down a three, giving the Trojans new life as the deficit shrank back into single digit territory. Two Stewart free throws put USC within five before McLaughlin’s contributions from the charity stripe brought it to just two.
Chimezie Metu rejected Josh Scott at the rim, opening the door for McLaughlin to tie the game at 65. Then it was McLaughlin who had the Galen Center on its feet with a three pointer as the clock went under three minutes to go.
A monster dunk from Jacobs approaching one minute to play gave USC a five-point advantage which ensured the Trojans victory, 79-72.
The takeaway: USC shot poorly for much of the game and were out-rebounded by the Buffaloes 37-21 on the night. However, renewed efforts on the defense end gave the Trojans enough traction to work their way back into the contest. Colorado was held without a field goal for eight minutes until a too-little-too-late three from Xavier Talton ended the drought with ten seconds left.
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The comeback kept the Trojans perfect home record on the season intact. More importantly, it keeps USC within touching distance of the top of the Pac-12.
McLaughlin’s season-high 25 points on the night were a difference maker, especially his 7-of-9 rate from the free throw line which helped chip away Colorado’s lead late on.
Player of the game: Jordan McLaughlin, 25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
Stat of the game: USC finished the game on a 30-8 run.
Next on tap: USC will battle Utah at the Galen Center on Sunday afternoon