Colorado comeback gives Buffs 78-67 win over USC
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Freshman Evan Battey scored a season-high 21 points and Colorado roared back from an early 12-point deficit to beat the USC Trojans 78-67 Saturday in a game filled with fouls and frustration.
Tyler Bey added 17 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double and eighth in 10 games, and McKinley Wright IV also scored 17 for Colorado (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12).
The Buffs head into the Pac-12 tournament as the league’s hottest team with eight wins in their last 10 games following a 2-6 stumble at the start of league play.
The Trojans (15-16, 8-10) limp into the Pac-12 tournament on a four-game skid after their leading scorer, Bennie Boatwright was held to 9 points — half of his average — in just 19 minutes before fouling out with three minutes remaining and USC trailing by six points.
Three of his teammates finished with four fouls as did two Colorado players.
Nick Rakocevic led USC with 17 points and Jonah Mathews scored 13, but the Trojans’ hopes of an upset were dashed when they went cold down the stretch and were outscored 14-7 in the final 4½ minutes.
USC: The Trojans had a solid first half despite a drought from leading scorer Boatwright, who made just 1 of 6 shots while playing just 8½ first-half minutes. They led by as many as 12 when Elijah Weaver and Kevin Porter Jr. sank back-to-back 3s that gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the first half at 33-21. The Trojans led 37-30 at the half.
Colorado: The Buffs won their third straight and swept the Trojans, whom they beat 69-65 in Los Angeles on Feb. 9. ... The Buffs began conference play 2-6 yet finished above .500 for the sixth time in nine seasons. ... With the win, Tad Boyle moves past Ricardo Patton for No. 2 on CU’s all-time victories list with 185.
USC and Colorado: Play in the Pac-12 tournament that begins Wednesday in Las Vegas.
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