November 28, 2019 / 11:22 PM / 9 days ago

Okongwu, USC pull away from Fairfield after half

EditorsNote: update 2: adds new second graf with Friday matchups

Freshman Onyeka Okongwu scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Southern California to a 54-47 win over Fairfield in the quarterfinals of the Orlando Invitational on Thursday afternoon.

USC (6-1) advances to a semifinal matchup with Marquette on Friday. Fairfield (1-5) will face Davidson in the consolation bracket.

Jonah Mathews added 14 points, and Elijah Weaver scored 13 for the Trojans. Neither team shot the ball well, but USC went almost all of the final eight minutes of the game without a made basket.

The Trojans made five free throws in the final 7:58, but that was plenty enough to outlast the Stags.

Fairfield made just eight shots in the first half for a field goal percentage of 25.8. But five of those makes were 3-pointers, three of them by Jesus Cruz, which kept the Stags close.

Cruz had 11 points at the break, but USC led 25-22. Fairfield led by as many as eight points in the first half, but the Trojans closed the half on an 8-0 run.

The run was extended to 16-0, as USC scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 33-22 edge. Weaver scored the final eight points of the run on two 3-pointers and a layup.

Okongwu, who recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scored on a layup and was fouled with 9:47 to play, making the free throw for a 47-34 USC lead.

Fairfield went 1 of 13 from the floor during a stretch late in the second half, and didn’t have a enough time to mount a comeback. The Stags didn’t make a basket from the 5:10 mark of the second half until the 1:30 mark.

The Stags made just 9 of 32 second-half shots and only 27 percent of their attempts for the game. Okongwu had three of USC’s five blocks, and the Trojans outscored the Stags 24-6 in points in the paint.

—Field Level Media

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