Los Angeles, CA – The USC basketball team dropped its first loss of the season in a 82-78 defeat to Vanderbilt on Sunday at the Galen Center.
USC got within 76-74 with 14 seconds left in the game on a layup by Derryck Thornton but he missed the free throw on the and one play.
“It was a great game,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “We had the momentum. Then we had some crucial turnovers and missed shots at the end. The sloppy turnovers and quick shots are not a recipe for success.”
USC took a 69-67 lead on a Jonah Mathews layup before the Vanderbilt went on a 9-2 run to take the lead. Joe Toye, who finished with 16 points, had three free throws to key the Commodores rally.
“I was impressed with our effort,” Enfield said. “We played hard. We turned up the defense in the second half and limited their second shots.”
Vanderbilt took a 38-29 lead with the help of a 9-0 run with two minutes left in the first half. Jordan Usher helped USC trim the lead with two three pointers before halftime as they trailed, 42-36.
Both teams shot under 40 percent from the floor in the first half, Vanderbilt making 36.4 percent and USC making 38.9 percent. Vanderbilt led 28-24 in first-half rebounding.
Nick Rakocevic led the Trojans with 19 points and 18 rebounds while Thornton added 17 points. Freshman Kevin Porter Jr. scored 14 points with four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 23 minutes.
“I was impressed with our effort,” Rakocevic said. “We played hard. We turned up the defense in the second half and limited their second shots.”
USC (1-1) will look to bounce back when they host Stetson on Wednesday.