No. 10 USC pulls out OT win at Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jordan McLaughlin scored a career-high 35 points to lead No. 10 Southern California to a 93-89 overtime victory over Vanderbilt on Sunday night in Memorial Gymnasium.
Matthew Fisher-Davis countered with 31 points and 11 rebounds for Vanderbilt, while USC forward Chimezie Metu had 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Commodores outrebounded the Trojans 38-28 and were 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) behind the 3-point arc.
“They have great players and a lot of senior leadership on that team,” USC coach Andy Enfield said of Vanderbilt. “We’re very fortunate to win. Both teams played very well tonight. It was a great college basketball game.”
USC (3-0) got 10 extra shots thanks to committing just six turnovers to Vanderbilt’s 16.
The Trojans took close to full advantage of those extra possessions, hitting a season-best 46.2 percent on 3-pointers (12 of 26) and making 15 of 16 free throws.
“It felt like a game in February with how intense it was and the back-and-forth play,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. “I was really proud of our team. I thought we played hard and I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight.”
Vanderbilt (2-2) took a three-point lead with 47.7 seconds left in regulation when guard Riley LaChance (19 points) drove the right side, hit a layup, and then sank a foul shot.
Metu countered by making two free throws.
Vanderbilt wasted little time, throwing a full-court pass to a streaking guard Larry Austin for a layup two seconds later.
McLaughlin made his fourth 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to tie it at 80, and LaChance couldn’t convert in traffic with time running down.
McLaughlin, USC’s senior point guard, had a hand in that stop, too.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” Enfield said. “That’s expected at this point. He’s one of the best guards in the country.”
McLaughlin then scored the first five points of overtime with a 3-pointer from the top of the key and a driving layup around the right side of the Vanderbilt defense.
McLaughlin shot 12 of 19 from the field and was tough to contain off the dribble.
“(We were) being aggressive,” the senior said when asked about his ability to get to the hoop. “(Enfield) puts me in a lot of ball screens. I’ve been in the system for four years now, so I know what I‘m looking for when I‘m coming off a ball screen.”
Enfield added, “Jordan just took over down the stretch.”
Metu added a layup with 1:49 remaining and the Commodores still scoreless in overtime.
Vanderbilt took its first lead of the second half when Fisher-Davis, in transition, hit an off-balance 3-pointer with a hand in his face from the left side, putting the Commodores up 49-48 with 11:54 left.
After a USC miss on its next trip, Nick Rakocevic was whistled for his third foul going over the back of Austin.
Rakocevic’s reaction to the call drew a technical foul. Fisher-Davis hit both free throws and nailed a 3-pointer on Vanderbilt’s ensuing possession, pushing the lead to 54-48 with 11:21 left.
Fisher-Davis had 21 points after halftime and tied a career high with his rebound total.
“He’s hard to stop because he’s big, he’s got a high release, he’s herky-jerky in his movements, so you don’t know if he’s going to shoot or drive,” Enfield said.
Fisher-Davis has been playing through a sprained ankle he sustained in preseason. After missing the opener, Fisher-Davis scored just six points and was noticeably hobbled on Nov. 13 in a 69-60 loss at Belmont.
The senior looked better when he scored 17 on Friday in a win over UNC-Asheville. He then came within two points of a career high on Sunday despite playing at what he termed 85 percent.
He was one of three Commodores, along with forward Jeff Roberson (10 points, six rebounds) and LaChance who played every minute of the second half and overtime.
Vanderbilt did not substitute from the 15:55 point of the second half through the rest of the evening, with Austin and center D‘Jery Baptiste also staying on the floor.
“We got in a good rhythm with those five,” Drew said. “We wanted to give them a chance because they’d gotten us the lead. They’d gotten us to that point, we wanted to give them a chance to win the game.”
The first half featured a number of runs.
With USC leading 14-10, Vanderbilt went on a 21-4 spurt capped by a 3-pointer by Fisher-Davis from the right side in transition.
But the Trojans hit their last six shots of the half in a span of 3:53. The last five were 3-pointers, with two by forward Bennie Boatwright (14 points).
McLaughlin led all scorers with 11 at the break. Fisher-Davis topped Vanderbilt with 10 first-half points.
NOTES: USC G De‘Anthony Melton is being held out as the school continues to investigate his eligibility, which came into question in connection with the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. ... Vanderbilt G Matthew Fisher-Davis hit a 3-pointer with 16:29 left in the first half, giving the Commodores a made 3-pointer in 1,003 straight games. Vandy has hit one in every game since the shot was instituted in 1986-87. ... Trojans G Elijah Stewart scored his 1,000th career point on a dunk with 18:13 left in the first half.