USC Basketball vs. Princeton score, summary: Trojans upset at Galen Center

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /

USC Basketball suffered a devastating blow to their NCAA tournament hopes, falling to Princeton in overtime at the Galen Center, 103-93.

The lowdown:

It was sloppy for USC early as Chimezie Metu missed his first shot and committed a turnover, while Nick Rakocevic missed two free throws. Jordan McLaughlin had a three-pointer bounce in for the Trojans first points of the contest but Princeton enjoyed a 10-3 advantage in the first five minutes.

Shooting from distance kept USC in the game with McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart knocking down shots to tie the game at 12 near the midway point of the first half.

Princeton found gaps in the Trojan defense, hitting two open three-pointers and an uncontested layup to jump back out to a 20-14 lead.

USC clawed back with a 9-0 run as McLaughlin’s layup gave the Trojans a 25-23 lead, their first of the night. And the lead only grew as Charles O’Bannon Jr. took a pass on the fastbreak after McLaughlin nabbed a steal and finished with a dunk to make it 34-25 with under three minutes in the period.

With the Trojans missing Bennie Boatwright, Jonah Mathews and Derryck Thornton due to injury and De’Anthony Melton still sitting out because of an NCAA investigation, Andy Enfield’s depth was so limited he brought in walk-on Kurt Karis to spell McLaughlin .

However, it was with McLaughlin back in the game that Princeton ripped off the last five points of the half. USC went into the break with a tenuous 36-33 lead.

That lead was tested immediately as Princeton’s Myles Stephens hit a three-pointer to open the second half to tie the game.

With more injury troubles befalling the Trojans as Rakocevic came up hobbled, the Tigers used sharp shooting, hitting more than 64 percent of their attempts early in the second, to take an 11-point lead at 59-48 with just over 10 minutes to play.

Back-and-forth scoring saw Princeton maintain a multi-possession lead as the clock ticked inside six minutes.

Metu’s dunk to make it 68-63 might have provided a spark, but Stephens’ tough dive for a layup matched the effort. Again Metu got inside for Trojan points on the next possession, but Princeton’s Aaron Young one-upped him with a deep three-pointer. But the Trojan big man came back the other way with a three-point play of his own, driving for the layup and foul shot.

And he wasn’t done. An emphatic one-handed slam dunk from Metu put USC within touching distance at 73-70 with under three minutes to go.

The Tigers simply would not scoring, however. Sebastian Much sank a triple in response and USC was forced to play the foul game.

Stewart and McLaughlin both hit quick threes to give some hope, but Devin Cannady took care of business shooting his free throws. Amir Bell did not, however, missing a shot to open the door for the Trojans, who forced a turnover on the inbounds with 11 second to go.

It was McLaughlin who drove to the hoop and put in the game-tying layup, forcing overtime at 86 all.

Unfortunately for USC, the momentum they held at the end of regulation did not extend into overtime. After Stewart drove for the opening points of the overtime period, Princeton outscored the Trojans 14-5, including a 7-0 run.

The Tigers finished off the victory, 103-93.

By the numbers:

  • USC finished regulation on a 10-3 run.
  • Chimezie Metu led the Trojans with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Three Trojans posted more than 20 points: Metu, Jordan McLaughlin with 24 and Elijah Stewart, who fouled out, with 20.
  • Shaqquan Aaron, who was in the starting lineup for the first time this season, fouled out with five points.
  • Princeton held a lead for 73.1 percent of the game. Their largest lead was 11, while USC’s was nine.
  • The two teams were largely even on the stat sheet. The Tigers outrebounded the Trojans by one. The Trojans had one more point off the bench and off of turnovers. USC shot 52.2 percent from the field to Princeton’s 51.5 percent and 38.5 percent from three-point distance to 37.8 percent.

Player of the game: Princeton’s Myles Stephens, who had a game-best 30 points on 62 percent shooitng while also leading his team with nine rebounds.

Next on tap: USC will take on Akron at the Galen Center on Friday,