Los Angeles, CA – USC started the season as the No. 10 team but the Trojans now face an uphill climb if they want a shot at the NCAA tournament.
Princeton guard Myles Stephens scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Tigers to a 103-93 upset overtime victory over USC at the Galen Center on Tuesday night.
The Trojans used a 10-3 run in the final minutes of regulation to storm back. After USC forced a turnover with 11 seconds left, Jordan McLaughlin drove to the basket and scored the game-tying layup to tie it at 86.
Shooting went cold for the Trojans in overtime, missing seven-of-10 field goals while the Tigers shot 67 percent. Princeton made four-of-six from the field and went on a 17-7 run to seal the victory.
“This was a tough game for us.” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “In overtime, we couldn’t get the crucial stops. Give Princeton credit. They deserved to beat us, they scored 100 points.”
After five minutes of play, Princeton took a 10-3 lead on Devin Cannady’s three-pointer to open the first half. The Trojans Elijah Stewart drained a three to tie it at 12.
USC went on an 9-0 run to come back and take a 25-23 lead with 5:39 left in the first half. The Trojans offense came to life after a slow start as Stewart hit a jumper and freshman Charles O’Bannon Jr. finished a fastbreak with a dunk to give USC a 35-24 lead.
Princeton made a couple three-pointers with under two minutes left in the first half to climb back into the game. USC guard Jordan McLaughlin’s turnover led to the Tigers Jerome Desrosiers tip in at the buzzer as the Trojans went into halftime with a 36-33 lead.
Chimezie Metu led USC with 25 points and 10 rebounds. McLaughlin added 24 points while Elijah Stewart scored 20.
“They were driving aggressively and we couldn’t contain them.” Metu said. “They hit the open man and hit open shots. It’s a long season. We have to lock in and keep grinding on defense.”
After starting the same lineup for the first seven games, the Trojans played its third consecutive game with a new lineup.
Forward Bennie Boatwright missed his second straight game with soreness in his right foot. Guard Jonah Matthews missed the game due to a sprained ankle suffered in Sunday’s game.
Derryck Thornton has missed the Trojans last four games while he recovers from a dislocated right shoulder he suffered on Nov. 28.
“It’s been a very challenging year so far,” Enfield said. “We have four players out right now. We had a lot of points, rebounds and assist on the sideline tonight. That’s not an excuse, others have to step up.”
USC heads to Hawaii and will play against Akron in the Diamond Head Classic on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPNU.