USC rally in second half takes out SMU
For the second straight NCAA Tournament game, Southern California overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to win.
Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer as the No. 11 seed Trojans upset sixth-seeded SMU 66-65 on Friday in the East Region at Tulsa, Okla.
USC trailed SMU by 10 in the second half. The Trojans trailed Providence by 17 in the second half of their First Four game on Wednesday before winning 75-71.
Stewart had 22 points for the Trojans (26-9), including the game-deciding 3 with 37 seconds to play.
“We ran the play before, and I was open,” he said. “And then we had the media timeout. We discussed it. We ran the same play again, and I was open, and I just let muscle memory take place.”
Bennie Boatright and Chimezie Metu each added 14 points for USC, which advanced to play third-seeded Baylor in the second round Sunday.
SMU’s Shake Milton missed a floater at the buzzer that would have won it for the Mustangs (30-5), whose 16-game winning streak ended.
“There used to be a show on TV when I was little talking about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” SMU coach Tim Jankovich said. “I think it was ‘Wide World of Sports.’ I can certainly relate to that show right now.”
Stewart said SMU looked unsure about what it was going to do in the final sequence.
“I noticed that two players were arguing about who was going to take the last shot,” Stewart said. “Usually when something like that happens, like whoever shoots it, it just messes with you. The floater was short, and I felt like it could have went either way, honestly. I was just — I had my eyes closed.”
Semi Ojeleye had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Sterling Brown scored 17 for SMU.
Baylor 91, New Mexico State 73: Al Freeman came off the bench to score 21 points for the thirdseeded Bears (26-7), who suffered upset losses to Georgia State and Yale in the first round the previous two years.
Ian Baker and Braxton Huggins each scored 19 points for the Aggies (28-6).