Junior forward Nick Rakocevic recorded 19 points and 13 rebounds to help Southern California notch a 75-65 victory over Long Beach State on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Senior forward Bennie Boatwright added 13 points and seven rebounds, and junior guard Derryck Thornton added 13 points, six assists and three steals for the Trojans (5-2). Junior guard Jonah Mathews scored 11 points and senior guard Shaqquan Aaron had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Bryan Alberts and sophomore wing Jordan Roberts scored 13 points apiece for Long Beach State (2-6). Junior guard Ron Freeman added 12 points and eight rebounds.
USC was 7 of 14 from 3-point range but shot just 42.2 percent overall while winning its third straight game.
The 49ers shot just 35.7 percent from the field and 5 of 22 from behind the arc. Long Beach State has lost three consecutive games.
The Trojans held a 47-33 advantage after Aaron hit a jumper with 14:29 remaining.
Freeman scored the next five points for Long Beach State to start a run of 10 straight points, making it a four-point margin.
Sophomore guard Drew Cobb converted a layup with 10:24 left to move the 49ers within 49-47.
Long Beach State was again within two after two free throws by senior forward KJ Byers with 6:09 remaining before Mathews converted a layup and Rakocevic made back-to-back shots to give the Trojans a 64-56 edge with 4:47 to play.
However, the 49ers made another charge and crept within 66-63 on Freeman’s layup with 2:50 remaining.
It was again a three-point game before Rakocevic and Thornton hit consecutive jumpers to give USC a 72-65 lead with 46 seconds remaining.
Thornton added two free throws with 34.6 seconds left to give the Trojans a nine-point lead, and USC went on to close it out.
USC connected on 6 of 9 3-point attempts in the first half while taking a 36-28 lead into the break.
Sophomore wing Jordan Usher drained a 3-pointer with 5:55 left in the half to give the Trojans a 26-17 advantage.
The 49ers answered with an 11-4 run to move within two before Mathews and Aaron knocked down 3-pointers in the final minute to provide USC with the eight-point halftime lead.
—Field Level Media