USC defeats Colorado in epic comeback

first_imgFor the USC men’s basketball team, nothing is better than playing at home. The Trojans overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat the Colorado Buffaloes 79-72. The win moved USC to 15-0 on the year at the Galen Center.Guard Jordan McLaughlin scored a career-high 25 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Fellow backcourt mate, Julian Jacobs finished with 17 points, five steals, and two heart-pounding dunks, one of which was a reverse finish on a fastbreak.“I just wanted to get the crowd going.” Jacobs said on the dunk. “It was a huge momentum shift. That dunk put a statement on our run and got the crowd into it. It’s hard to play in Galen when the crowd is involved like that.”Behind 11 straight points from McLaughlin, the Trojans ended the game on a 34-12 run. The Buffaloes went on eight-minute dry spell from the field until guard Xavier Talton hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation.The Buffaloes bullied their way to a huge advantage on the boards, out-rebounding the Trojans 37-21 for the game. The rebounding numbers were a season low for the Trojans.“Their guards would blow by ours on the closeouts, and even if they missed the shot, their bigs would slide onto our guards and get the offensive rebound,” head coach Andy Enfield said about Colorado’s rebounding advantage.USC jumped out to an early 14-9 lead behind the strong play of McLaughlin and Jacobs. Behind their bench, the Buffaloes responded with a 9-0 run that saw them take a four point lead.An and-one dunk from Jacobs pulled the Trojans within one, 20-19. Colorado responded by ending the half on a 17-10 run to take an eight point lead into the half.The Trojans were out-rebounded 23-11 in the first half. A strange turn of events happened after a missed free throw from Colorado’s Wesley Gordon. Forward Nikola Jovanovic failed to box out, leading an infuriated Andy Enfield to quickly sub him out for seldom-used Strahinja Gavrilovic. Jovanovic returned less than a minute later.The Men of Troy came out of the half fighting. Back-to-back steals led to a vicious reverse slam from Jacobs that capped a quick 5-0 run to start the second half. The Trojans had numerous chances to cut the lead to a single possession but failed to convert from the free-throw line.For the next five minutes, everything that could go Colorado’s way did. Bricked jump-shots led to easy offensive rebounds. Blocked shots went right to Colorado players under the basket. Off-balance 3-pointers to beat the shot clock went in. By the end of it the Buffaloes pushed their lead to fifteen, 60-45.At the  time, Colorado was shooting 64 percent from the field in the second half. Enfield responded by switching to a 2-3 zone. The Buffaloes would miss their next eight shots from the field.“Coach put an emphasis on defense.” McLaughlin said. “Coach said we were going to win with defense, and we did. It was a great call by coach [to switch to zone].”The Men of Troy went on a 20-5 run that tied the score at 65. McLaughlin scored 11 straight points that helped put the Trojans up by five with under two minutes left to play. The Buffaloes would never threaten again.McLaughlin and Jacobs finished with over half of the Trojans points, seven of their nine assists, and a combined nine steals.“[McLaughlin and Jacobs] controlled the game down the stretch with their penetration, shot making, and defense” Enfield said.Forward John Scott led the Buffaloes with 17 points and guard George King chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds. Colorado’s bench outscored the Trojans’ 37-15.USC’s win snapped a seven game losing streak to the Buffaloes. Next up for the Trojans is a Sunday afternoon game against the Utah Utes. Tip off is set for 3 PM and will be aired on Pac-12 Network.last_img