No. 11 seed USC basketball pulled off the upset of the 2017 NCAA Tournament so far by downing No. 6 seed SMU, 66-65, in the final seconds.
The lowdown: Both teams started hot from the field, with SMU knocking down two three-pointers in the opening minutes and USC going inside to Bennie Boatwright.
As the Trojans missed a trio of three-point attempts, the Mustangs built their early lead to 12-6.
Elijah Stewart’s three-pointer pulled USC back to one at 12-11 and it remained a back and forth affair.
After an alley-oop was waived off for a foul, the Mustangs reset with another one to make it 21-15.
It was groundhogs day midway through the half as a banked in triple from SMU’s Jarrey Foster, a drive from Shake Milton and a Semi Ojeley lay up gave the Mustangs their biggest lead at 30-18.
Stewart again sparked the Trojans, hitting back-to-back three pointers to draw within 30-24.
With SMU’s scoring touch seeming to fade, missing eight consecutive shots, USC made their push with a 10-2 run.
However, approaching the final minute, Milton knocked down a three to extend SMU’s lead back to 10 at 38-28.
USC went into halftime trailing 38-30.
Boatwright and Stewart opened the second half with back-to-back threes, immediately erasing most of the deficit.
Chimezie Metu’s slam dunk tied the game at 40 briefly, but Ojeleye responded by taking it to the basket and drawing a foul for the and-one.
A series of USC turnovers helped SMU go on a 10-1 run after the Trojans drew even.
Ojeleye pushed the lead to 10 with a late triple, but Stewart again hit from distance in response.
Then, USC cut the deficit to just two after a 9-1 run, courtesy of drives from Boatwright and Mathews, with eight minutes remaining.
Coming out of a break, Stewart got up high for a dunk to tie it at 54.
The Trojans had a chance to take the lead, but a turnover led to a three-point play driving for Ojeleye.
A McLaughlin fastbreak again out USC in range of the lead but a Boatwright miss was followed by a Milton swish from beyond the arc as the three-minute mark approached.
After Metu tied it back up at 60 from the free throws, Boatwright gave USC their first lead of the game, hitting from distance.
However, Milton put SMU back in front with a triple and the Trojans looked in serious trouble after a bad inbounds pass went off of Boatwright, giving the Mustangs back possession.
An SMU mistake gave USC new life as the Trojans got the ball after an accidental step out of bounds.
Stewart made the Mustangs pay this time, hitting a corner three to put USC into the lead for good.
On the ensuing SMU possession, a foul sent Ben Moore to the line, but he missed the front end. Metu grabbed the rebound and was fouled, but he too missed his foul shot.
With seconds ticking down and the Trojans holding a one-point advantage, Milton drove to the basket, but his shot skimmed the rim as the buzzer sounded.
USC completed the upset 66-65.
The takeaway: For the 13th time this season, the Trojans erased a double-digit deficit to win the game. By far, this was the most dramatic.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
A No. 11 upsetting a No. 6 seed will grab the headlines, but the game was likely the most exciting of the tournament so far, with both teams pushing back and forth to the end.
Ultimately, it was USC whose final surge took the day.
Stewart was the main man for the Trojans with 22 points, including the game winner. He shot 6-for-13 from distance on a night when USC struggled to hit jump shots.
Metu and Boatwright each tallied 14 points, while McLaughlin struggled. The point guard had just five points and committed four turnovers.
Stat of the game: USC led for a total of a minute and 15 seconds all game.
Next on tap: The Trojans advance to the Round of 32, facing No. 3 seed Baylor on Sunday.