Kobe Johnson's late heroics cap massive performance from him and USC W

Evan Desai
Kobe Johnson, USC Basketball, USC Trojans
Kobe Johnson, USC Basketball, USC Trojans / Eakin Howard/GettyImages
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USC Basketball was down 53-50 to Oregon State in their Pac-12 home opener, with just 2:56 left. Then, it all changed when Drew Peterson found Kobe Johnson for a triple with 2:42 left. Shortly after, Johnson ended up continuing his 5-0 run with a lay-up with 2:25 left to put SC up 55-53 after Reese Dixon-Waters stole a possession from the Beavers.

The Beavs called a timeout, and sure enough, Johnson stole the rock right out of it. SC ended up getting two more points from Peterson on their new possession, and the Trojans were up four with 1:35 left.

The Trojans went on to seal the game, despite Oregon State making enough threes out of USC foul shots to keep the game within one. SC won 63-62. They're now 6-3 on the season, and 2-0 in Pac-12 play. It wasn't just Johnson's big plays late (he had another bucket in the final 1:35 too). It was that he had a great game all-around, throughout the contest.

Johnson finished tied for a game-high 17 points. That's huge in a game where the other two captains (Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis) only had 17 points combined. Johnson had FIVE steals. Five boards helped out too, especially in a game where nobody else (other than Peterson) was really rebounding much at all. SC as a team was out-rebounded 34-23.

Kobe Johnson was also the only USC Basketball player who could shoot from three.

Kobe Johnson chipped in three triples out of four attempts for USC Basketball. Only one other Trojan made a trey (Peterson was one for five from back behind the line).

If Johnson didn't sink his three shots from downtown out of four, SC would have finished 1 for 12 from behind the three-point arc. He was not only clutch in his three-point shooting, but...he was the only one providing anything at any point in the game via three-point shooting. He led the team in field goal percentage at 70% too. He was efficient all around.

The MVP of this game is clearly Johnson, and this is a great opportunity for Johnson to build on, with SC having another game at Galen Center in three days against Cal State Fullerton. Johnson likely earned himself more starting minutes as well, as he shined in his fifth start of the season.

If he continues to start, he'll have a major impact on the Trojans' defensive performance. Johnson already averaged 1.6 steals per game in just 18.8 minutes per contest heading into this one.

Next. Predictions for rest of USC Football season. dark

He's received the chance to start these last two games, though, and has recorded six total steals in the two contests. His value on the Trojans cannot go unmentioned if he plays like the type of three-and-D player he did today.

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