LOS ANGELES,CA -- Coming into the game with USC forward Bennie Boatwright sidelined due to a knee injury, the fate of the USC men's basketball team was still questionable. But with the team's star forward sitting on the bench, guard Jordan McLaughlin has been filling in the gap just fine. USC averaged 80.6 points in games where Boatwright started. An increase of 91. 93. and 82 points averaged a game is because of McLaughlin, who has adapted his game by averaging 21 points since Boatwright's absence.
In tonight's matchup against Troy, USC led for a total of five minutes and 13 seconds. The first half consisted of Troy hitting 44 percent of their shot attempts, including 8 of 18 from the three point line. Wesley Person, Jr. was 4 of 7 from behind the arc for the Troy Trojans. He finished with a team high of 19 points. Troy finished by hitting 11 of 27 of its 3-point attempts.
USC trailed at halftime for only the second time this season, 40-38. Troy took the first half lead after Jeremy Hollimon hit a three pointer in the final seconds.
Troy (6-5) led by as many as 10 points in the second half, lifted by a barrage of three pointers. This was made possible as USC was slow to extend its defense to challenge Troy's shooters from behind the arc. With a little over a minute remaining, Troy's Jeremy Hollimon drained a three pointer to break the tie and restore their three point lead.
USC caught a break when forward Chimezie Metu made a basket pulling them within one point, as Troy was whistled for an inbounds violation on the next play. Metu drew the foul on the next possession and made the first free throw to tie the score. He missed the second, but USC was able to get the rebound and make a game winning play in which McLaughlin scored the game winning shot.
McLaughlin dribbled at the top of the key. As he drove towards the basket, he crossed over to slit two defenders and kissed the ball of the glass. The basket put away the game as it gave USC a 79-77 lead it finally wouldn't relinquish. Troy had the opportunity to tie the game on the next possession, but Jeremy Hollimon stepped out of bounds. USC won the game, 82-77, to remain undefeated as their record improved to its best start in 46 years to 10-0.
Metu finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Elijah Stewart scored 11 points. Forward Charles Buggs returned to action from an injured hamstring, while Nick Rakocevic added 10 points.