USC Basketball: Last-second alley-oop boosts Trojans over Ducks

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images /

A last-second alley-oop in the final second lifted USC basketball over the Oregon Ducks at the Galen Center, 72-70, on Thursday night.

The lowdown:

Oregon’s Mikyle MacIntosh opened the scoring and pushed the Ducks out to an early 12-6 lead before a Chimezie Metu dunk stemmed the bleeding.

Still, Oregon maintained a seven-point advantage for much of the first half before the Trojans got hot from three. Metu hit one from distance then Jonah Mathews hit two in a row to give USC the lead at 25-24.

Though they couldn’t build on that lead, Trojans went into halftime trailing just 29-28.

Nick Rakocevic put USC on the board first in the second half with a dunk out of the inbounds from Jordan McLaughlin, but the half continued a tight, back-and-forth contest with 11 lead changes and 11 ties. Mathews’ shooting from beyond the arc contributed to that.

There was a long break in the action while the refs worked out a pair of technical fouls assessed to Elijah Stewart and McIntosh after an incident under the basket. The result was net neutral, but there was nothing neutral about Metu’s powerful putback to give USC a 58-56 lead with nine minutes to go.

The Trojans got a scare soon after when Bennie Boatwright went down and had to be helped off the court by teammates. Shuffling over to defend a drive, Boatwright’s knee seemed to buckle and he did not finish the game.

McLaughlin picked up his 10th assist dishing to Mathews for his fifth triple of the night, securing a double-double soon after from the free throw line.

McIntosh’s scoring kept Oregon right there with USC as Troy Brown’s triple put the Ducks in position with a one-point lead under two minutes.

Stewart came up in the clutch, knocking down a three-pointer to give the Trojans a two-point lead. Then in the biggest defensive play of the game, Rakocevic took a charge to deny the Ducks a game-tying basket with 34.7 seconds to go.

However, with Oregon looking to extend the game, Metu missed both of his free throws, opening the door for Troy Brown to lie it on a putback at 70-70 with 13.8 seconds left.

That simply set up a magical finish for the Trojans. McLaughlin lobbed a wild alley-oop to Metu, who laid it in with .6 seconds remaining. Oregon’s desperation heave hit the backboard as USC secured the 72-70 win.

Player of the game: Point guard Jordan McLaughlin finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 assists, the final one proving to be the difference.

Stat of the game: 

Next on tap: Having snapped a three-game losing streak, the Trojans will look to build a winning streak, hosting Oregon State at the Galen Center on Saturday Feb. 17 at 8:00 p.m.