USC Basketball vs Texas A&M: Trojans Stuns Aggies In Final Seconds
USC basketball blitzed Texas A&M in the final minutes, pulling off a stunning victory with an alley-opp dunk with just seconds remaining.
The lowdown: Things started out brighter for USC than in their first two games, jumping out to a 6-2 lead on the road. However, the Trojans’ early shooting struggles reared their head as Texas A&M rode an 11-point run to take an increasingly commanding lead.
With half of the first period gone, USC had missed on all nine of their three-point attempts and both De’Anthony Melton and Chimezie Metu had missed point-blank dunks.
The Trojans got back into it just before the end of the first half, as Elijah Stewart knocked down two threes and Jordan McLaughlin and Bennie Boatwright added one of their own each on four consecutive possessions to draw even with the Aggies.
Then, at the buzzer, McLaughlin hit USC’s fifth triple in six attempts to end the half and took a 32-29 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Trojans built on their lead, up by seven at one point after the break. Texas A&M, however, came storming back and flipped the deficit as USC struggled from distance once again.
The drama unfolded in the final minutes with USC drawing back in close. Getting critical defensive stops, McLaughlin dished it to Melton, who knocked in a deep three to close within three points.
Boatwright was fouled on the rebound of a missed Aggie free throw shot and hit both shots to shrink the Texas A&M lead to just one point. Then, McLaughlin once again produced some magic in the final seconds launching an alley-oop pass to Metu who slammed it for the one-point lead and the victory.
The takeaway: USC has gotten into the bad habit of allowing the opposition to take control of the game early on. However, the Trojans have proven to be a resilient bunch. They rode an 11-1 run to end the first half then reproduced that surge in the second half, closing out the game on a 12-1 run for the win.
That ability to get red hot and close any deficit is certainly one USC will be happy to have, but the Trojans are also playing with fire with a decidedly feast or famine level of production.
Boatwright’s return from back spasms didn’t come with the kind of scoring USC might have hoped. He was 1-of-8 from distance and 3-of-13 from the field. However, Boatwright made the critical free throws when they mattered.
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In the end, the veteran McLaughlin, the big man Metu and the young gun Melton provided the boost the Trojans needed. McLaughlin led the team with four assists, Metu led the Trojans in scoring and Melton’s instinctual play gave USC a chance.
Andy Enfield and company have a ways to go when it comes to getting this collection of new and young players to gel, but the fact that they could go on the road and beat a tournament team in the final seconds is an extremely encouraging sign, all things considered.
Player of the game: Jordan McLaughlin. The point guard had a hand in all of USC’s winning points, hitting a lay up, then dishing to Melton, who hit the clutch three, and then Metu for the alley-oop.
Stat of the game: USC finished both halves on a double-digit scoring run.
Next on tap: The Trojans return to the Galen Center on Tuesday to face New Orleans at 6:00 p.m.