USC rally in sec­ond half takes out SMU

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

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).

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