The USC Trojans are now 2-0 in true road games, running past a tough Boston College squad that battled for 40 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Led by an outstanding personal performance from Elijah Stewart, scoring 22 points on 10-of-10 shooting from the field, the young Trojans slithered through a last-second rally to defeat the Eagles.
Boston College scored eight points in the span of 15 seconds, something that would make Reggie Miller be proud, but Katin Reinhardt nailed two free throws with 10.5 seconds left to secure the road win. In classic fashion, The Trojans made things close in the end, but this young unit found a way to grow up and grind out a nice non-conference win.
USC shot an impressive 54 percent from the field, including a 70-percent mark in the first half, overcoming a 17-turnover effort on the offensive end. Head coach Andy Enfield mixed things up starting Malik Marquetti over Reinhardt for the first time all season, but the UNLV transfer contributed 14 points off the bench.
After USC trailed by four at the half, 41-37, Nikola Jovanovic went off for 16 second-half points, on 8-of-10 shooting, and recorded a team-high nine rebounds. The Trojans won the battle on the boards, shot nearly 70 percent from the free throw line and hit over half their shots, a recipe for success that has allowed this team to play well away from home.
The athleticism in the front court really made life tough for the Eagles as they could not run step for step with Jovanovic running the floor and Jordan McLaughlin and Stewart pushing the pace on the fast break. What made the biggest difference, however, is that the Trojans were able to limit Boston College to just 29-percent shooting from behind the arc.
The Eagles' leading scorer, Olivier Hanlan, needed 20 shots to score 15 points. It was that type of shooting night as Boston College shot just over 40 percent from the field, but grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, in the losing effort.
Thanks to some great second half free throw shooting, the Trojans got ahead 72-63 in the final 30 seconds and did just enough to move their record to 7-4 on the season. USC now gets set for the final non-conference game of the season on December 30 at the Galen Center against Vermont, a possible NCAA Tournament team out of the America East.
TROJAN GAME NOTES
- Elijah Stewart's shooting percentage (10-10) tied Taj Gibson's school record 10-10 effort against Boston College in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
- Luis Gavrilovic did not play because of an ankle injury from earlier this week
- USC made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:54 of the game
- The Trojans blocked six shots, including two each from Stewart and Darion Clark
- Malik Martin struggled with foul trouble, accumulating four fouls in limited action
- The USC Trojans got revenge for the football loss in Chestnut Hill. Well mostly...