USC basketball vs. Santa Clara score, recap: Trojans trip in double overtime

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC basketball suffered an embarrassing loss to Santa Clara, 102-92 in double overtime, despite fighting back from an 18-point deficit on Tuesday night.

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The lowdown:

The game opened in typical USC fashion with the Trojans falling behind early thanks to ice-cold shooting. Despite winning the opening tip, USC turned the ball over and Santa Clara’s Tahj Eaddy put up the first bucket of the game.

The Broncos would add five points before Jordan Usher scored USC’s first points of the game with nearly five minutes gone.

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Nearly five minutes later, Santa Clara expanded their lead to seven points at 14-7 as USC struggled to keep up with the Broncos scoring.

Things only got worse as the half continued. A 10-0 Santa Clara Run led by Eaddy and Josip Vrankic put the Broncos up by 13 at 25-12.

Andy Enfield called a timeout to stem the bleeding and Bennie Boatwright responded well, knocking down a jumper then generating a three-point play in the paint. Santa Clara, however, only redoubled their efforts, ripping off a seven-point run to take a commanding 18-point lead at 35-17 with five minutes left in the first.

Shaqquan Aaron sparked a 12-4 run with a strip and fastbreak layup to cut into the deficit, but the Broncos still went into the half leading USC 42-31.

USC’s shooting started to heat up in the second with Derryck Thornton and Mathews hitting back-to-back triples to trim the gap back to just nine points at 53-44.


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Usher delivered a highlight with a contested slam dunk and free throw to follow then Mathews scored on consecutive drives to the hoop to pull USC within six points of Santa Clara, 60-54.

The Broncos scored the next five points to restore their lead to double-digits.

While the Trojans continued to draw back within touching distance despite Nick Rakocevic fouling out, Santa Clara staved off every attempt to get any closer than six until the final minutes wound down.

Then, Usher sank four-straight free throws to cap an 11-0 Trojan run to truly make it a game with three minutes remaining and USC trailing by four.

Usher came up with a fastbreak layup plus a foul shot with just over a minute to play to keep the Trojans close before Boatwright delivered the heroics. The senior hit a three-pointer, narrowing the deficit to just one.

After a stop, Mathews drove inside and laid up the go-ahead basket at 80-79. A foul on Vrankic on the final possession of the game sent him to the line with two seconds remaining and he hit one shot to tie the game, but missed the second and sent the game into overtime.

In overtime, Boatwright scored four points but fouled out shortly before Santa Clara’s Eaddy was also sent to the bench with five fouls.

Aaron and Trey Wertz traded points in the final seconds to ensure a second overtime with the game tied at 89.

From there, Wertz took over. He posted nine of Santa Clara’s 11 points in the final period while USC ran out of steam, losing 102-92.

The takeaway:

USC missed their first eight shots which continued the worrying trend of slow starts for the Trojans. Even more worrying, USC allowed Santa Clara to shoot 59 percent from the field in the opening period, including 16 points for leading scorer Tahj Eaddy.

The Trojans rallied in the second half by shutting down Eaddy and sharpening up their shooting, but they still failed to smother Santa Clara’s offense as a whole until late on, when their 24-5 run to end regulation nearly salvaged the outing.

In the end, USC simply played with fire and got burned. Unlike blowout losses to TCU and Oklahoma, they were able to fight back after a slow start to give themselves a chance against less gifted opposition, but foul trouble for Rakocevic and Boatwright, for an already thin lineup, was too much to overcome.

As an eight-point favorite, the Trojans shouldn’t have let it even come to overtime. As a result, they have suffered their fourth-straight loss on the season, falling to 5-6.

Stat of the game: Trey Wertz scored 17 points in the two overtimes.

Next on tap: USC will head back home to take on Southern Utah at the Galen Center on Friday, Dec. 21 at 8:00 p.m.