USC beats Pepperdine in shootout, stays unbeaten
Onyeka Okongwu led four Southern Cal players scoring in double figures with 33 points, and USC held off Pepperdine 91-84 Tuesday in Los Angeles.
USC (5-0) fell behind by 10 points during the first half, struggling to contain Pepperdine's hot-shooting guard Colbey Ross. Even as the Trojans rallied, Ross' scoring punch kept the Waves in striking distance. He scored a game-high 38 points on 65 percent shooting from the floor, including 6 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.
Ross also recorded six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
A 17-6 surge over 5:57 in the first half gave USC a lead it only relinquished momentarily a few minutes later.
The Waves (3-2) pulled within two points with less than two minutes remaining on a Kameron Edwards 3-pointer. Edwards scored 18 points for Pepperdine.
USC responded with four straight points on two Okongwu free throws and a bucket to put the game away.
The Trojans answered a similar Pepperdine push with five minutes remaining when a Ross jumper slashed a deficit that was once 12 points to four. Jonah Mathews made a 3-pointer on the other end to provide USC with some cushion for the final stretch.
Mathews (16 points), Nick Rakocevic (16 points) and Isaiah Mobley (14 points) also scored in double figures for USC. Rakocevic also added 11 rebounds and a game-high six assists, the last of which went to Okongwu for a dunk on the decisive, four-point swing.
The Trojans' collective size with 6-foot-9 Okongwu, 6-foot-11 Rakocevic and 6-foot-10 Mobley played a role down the stretch. USC outrebounded Pepperdine 38-28 and outscored the Waves in the paint 38-30.
Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar, head coach of Washington of the Pac-12 from 2002-17, employed a fast-paced style to his past Huskies teams. The Waves generated 20 points off 14 USC turnovers.
Pepperdine's Skylar Chavez joined Ross and Edwards in double figures with 10 points, along with five rebounds. Ethan Anderson recorded six points, four assists and two steals off the bench for USC.
--Field Level Media
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