Second-half rally helps Vanderbilt hold off USC, 82-78
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Darius Garland had 19 points, Simisola Shittu added 14 points and 15 rebounds and Vanderbilt beat USC 82-78 on Sunday night.
The Trojans had a 69-67 lead on a Jonah Mathews layup before the Commodores went on a 9-2 run to take the lead. Joe Toye, who finished with 16 points, had three free throws to key the rally.
Derryck Thornton got USC within 76-74 with 14 seconds on a layup while being fouled by Shittu but was unable to make the ensuing free throw.
Nick Rakocevic led the Trojans (1-1) with 19 points and 18 rebounds while Thornton added 17 points and Kevin Porter Jr. 14.
Aaron Nesmith added 10 points for the Commodores (2-0). The game is part of the Pac-12/SEC Showdown.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores two freshman are off to impressive starts. Shittu, the 6-foot-10 forward, is having an impressive start to his collegiate career. He has double doubles in his first two games and is averaging 16 points and 12.5 rebounds. Garland, a 6-2 guard, is averaging 22.5 points.
USC: Porter, who scored 11 of the Trojans’ first 15 points, has been an impressive scorer in his first two games but has been in foul trouble in both. He needs to correct that during nonconference play if he is going to have more of an impact for the Trojans this season.
USC senior Bennie Boatwright did not play as he continues to work his way back from offseason knee surgery. The 6-foot-10 forward is the Trojans leading returning scorer (13.6 points per game) and rebounder (6.4). Some had hoped that Boatwright would be back for this game, but coach Andy Enfield says he will not return to the court until he feels 100 percent.
Vanderbilt hosts Alcorn State on Friday.
USC hosts Stetson on Wednesday.
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