Another great victory for the USC Trojans Men’s basketball team as they defeated the SMU Mustangs 66-65 on Friday to advance to the round of 32. The Mustangs were heavily favored to win this game and led by 10 at the half. The Trojans, however, as they have so many times before came roaring back to pull off the upset. In the second round USC will take on the 3-seed Baylor Bears for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Once again the Trojans will be underdogs but lately that has not seemed to matter.
Highlights and recaps from the USC victory over SMU are below, Fight On!:
“USC didn’t grab its first lead until just about two minutes remained, when Bennie Boatwrighthit a three-pointer to make it 63-62, Trojans. SMU answered with a Shake Milton three-pointer that gave SMU back a two-point lead. USC answered with its own three after that.
It felt like a “last shot wins” kind of ballgame. It turned out it wasn’t.”
““Eight points at halftime, that’s nothing to us,” Enfield said. “Just keep playing, and see what happens.”
And so they’ll do just that. Never mind that the Mustangs looked before the tournament — and at times during the game — like a serious threat to make a deep run. Or that their defense gave USC fits, like they had so many others this season. Or that Ojeleye was nearly unstoppable for much of the game — the dunk was the easy highlight, but his performance in the lane was impressive (24 points, 10 rebounds). SMU led for almost 36 minutes but couldn’t pull away. The Trojans slowly reeled in the Mustangs.”
Recap from the Los Angeles Daily News:
“Down by two with little more than a minute remaining, USC’s players and coaches gathered by their bench at the BOK Center after a timeout. Coach Andy Enfield called for a “side ball screen.”
Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin used the screen and flipped the ball across the court toward sophomore Bennie Boatwright. But the pass was deflected and landed out of bounds.
As USC, still down by two points, re-took possession with 47 seconds left, Enfield told McLaughlin to return to the play. On the previous sequence, Enfield noticed SMU’s defense rotated over, leaving Stewart alone in the corner.”
Men's Basketball: USC 66, SMU 65 - Highlights 3/17/17
Recap from FiveThirtyEight.com
“But what was shaping up to be one of the most boring opening rounds ever received some much-needed surprise when University of Southern California upset SMU on Friday afternoon, knocking out what the computer power ratings considered one of the tournament’s most tempting dark-horse picks.”
USC vs SMU Game Recap 2017 March Madness
“For the second straight NCAA Tournament game, Southern California overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to win.
Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer for No. 11 seed USC as the Trojans upset sixth-seeded SMU 66-65 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.”
USC's Elijah Stewart scores 22, hits game-winning shot vs. SMU
“If the regular season is meant to serve as preparation for the postseason, then what USC has done is proof that its process—as unusual as it may be—may be worth putting faith in. The Trojans aren't loaded with talent to where they can expect to let their skills take over, so instead Enfield has had to tap into something else: fearlessness.
Enfield has his players believing the improbable is possible, and that makes for a dangerous team at this time of year. There isn't pressure to live up to lofty expectations, such as was the case for SMU after winning a conference regular-season and tournament title, and thus no reason to tighten up and stress.”
““The question maybe people need to be asking,” USC athletic director Lynn Swann said, “is how would Andy feel if he could turn USC not into just a football program but be known for a great basketball program?”
That is an open-ended question. But coming off Clay Helton’s Rose Bowl win -- USC’s first in eight years -- life ain’t bad in Troy.
At least USC is playing good-enough basketball at a football school. Right now, that’s enough.”
Highlights: USC men's basketball uses late 3-pointers to edge SMU
Recap from Sports Illustrated:
“SMU’s offense was sizzling early; the Mustangs had a 12-point lead and were shooting 70.6% while averaging 1.5 points per possession over the first 12 and a half minutes. After a media timeout at that juncture, Trojans coach Andy Enfield switched to a zone defense. It wasn’t an instant fix—USC still trailed by eight at halftime—but the Mustangs’ looks got progressively worse as the game wore on. USC deployed the zone almost exclusively in the second half, and SMU shot just 38.5% from the floor after intermission, averaging 0.900 points per possession. “Went with zone because we were more active in it, took their middle away, their short corner, and we were rotating well,” Enfield said. “We noticed we could probably defend them better in zone than man. We stayed with it, and it kept working.””
**We could use some help covering USC Basketball.**
“Apparently, they don't know how to quit.
''We just had to keep fighting back,'' Stewart said. ''We've been in those positions before. So we're kind of seasoned to it. And you just can't stop. You just got to keep going.''
Stewart had 22 points for the Trojans (26-9), including the game-deciding 3 with 37 seconds to play.
''We ran the play previously before, and I was open,'' Stewart said. ''And then we had the media timeout. We discussed it. We ran the same play again, and I was open, and I just let muscle memory take place.''
Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu each added 14 points for USC”