Jordan McLaughlin provided the shooting and Chimezie Metu supplied the defense Wednesday night as Southern California stifled Colorado 70-58 in a Pac-12 contest at Galen Center in Los Angeles.
McLaughlin tallied a team-high 20 points on just eight shot attempts, sinking six from the field and going 3 of 3 from the 3-point arc. Metu made only 3 of 13 field-goal tries but affected the game’s texture inside, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking six shots to go along with 14 points.
The Trojans (12-6, 3-2 Pac 12) shot just 43.6 percent from the field but were very effective on 3-pointers, connecting on 9 of 17. They also forced 22 turnovers, converting them into 25 points, and enjoyed a 26-10 advantage in bench scoring.
George King fired in a game-high 21 points for the Buffaloes, canning 5 of 11 3-point tries. Fellow guard Namon Wright tallied 10, but no one else reached double figures for Colorado (10-7, 2-3). The Buffs canned only 20 of 55 field goal tries (36.4 percent).
USC got off the block quickly, establishing a 22-13 lead at the 10:16 mark of the first half when Jonah Mathews connected on a 3-pointer. The Buffs made a good run late in the half, erasing a 28-19 deficit with a 13-2 spurt that King capped with a layup.
The Trojans answered with an 8-2 run to close the half. McLaughlin sank two free throws and then found Bennie Boatwright for a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to give USC a 38-34 halftime advantage.
After Lazar Nikolic canned a pair of foul shots with 11:47 left in the game to pull Colorado within 49-43, the Trojans began to pull away. Derryck Thornton’s layup with 9:20 remaining finished another 8-2 spurt that upped the USC lead to 12 points.
The margin stayed in double figures for all but 22 seconds of the game’s remainder as the Buffaloes couldn’t take care of the ball or make enough shots to make the Trojans worry.
Colorado did win the battle of the boards 39-31, but with its offense producing less than a point per possession, it wasn’t able to catch up.
—Field Level Media