LOS ANGELES (AP) - This time, Southern California’s rally ended with a victory.
Jordan McLaughlin scored a career-high 25 points, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:53 remaining, and USC beat Colorado 79-72 Wednesday night to improve to 15-0 at home.
Last weekend, the Trojans came from 18 points down in the second half at Arizona to get within two before losing 86-78.
They overcame a 15-point deficit against the Buffaloes in the second half, closing the game on a 34-12 run including 11 by McLaughlin. Julian Jacobs added 17 points for the Trojans (19-7, 8-5 Pac-12), who moved into a tie for third in league play with five games remaining.
“We just fear losing,” Jacobs said.
USC beat the Buffs for the first time since they joined the conference in the 2011-12 season.
“This was a big win for us,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “When you’re down 15 and you come back and win it’s a big confidence booster. It’s nice to finish it and actually win games.”
Josh Scott scored 17 points, and George King had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Buffs (19-8, 8-6). They fell to sixth in the league after making just one field goal over the final 8:15. Wesley Gordon added 13 points.
“We had them,” Buffs coach Tad Boyle said. “We played good enough tonight to win this game, but we only played for 33 minutes, and it’s a 40-minute game.”
The Buffs’ lineup of five starters ranging from 6-foot-2 to 6-9 outmuscled the Trojans inside and led to a 37-21 rebounding edge. USC’s rebounds, including three on the offensive glass, were season lows.
The Trojans scored the first five points of the second half, highlighted by Jacobs’ windmill dunk to close to 37-34. But King’s 3-pointer beat the shot clock and Scott and Josh Fortune combined to score 12 in a row before Gordon’s basket extended Colorado’s lead to 60-45.
USC switched to a zone and produced a 20-5 run that tied the game 65-all.
“Our man-to-man wasn’t working because they were pounding the ball inside and their guards were driving,” Enfield said. “We just had to do something different.”
King committed three of his six turnovers during USC’s big run and then McLaughlin hit the 3-pointer that put USC ahead for good.
“I have to do a better job not turning the ball over late and blowing a 15-point lead,” King said. “I’m upset with myself. Valuing the ball has to mean more to myself, to the team. Twenty turnovers on the road is not going to cut it in any league.”
The Trojans got within one in the first half before the Buffs closed on an 18-10 run to lead 37-29 at the break. King scored eight points during the spurt.
Colorado: Scott, the Buffs’ leading scorer and rebounder, returned after missing two games with an ankle injury.
USC: The Trojans had lost seven in a row to the Buffs. … Three of USC’s final five games are at home. … McLaughlin topped his old career high of 24 points set on Dec. 13, 2014, against Army.
Jacobs decides during warm-ups which dunks he’ll try to pull off if he’s in a fastbreak situation.
“I have this idea in my head what I want to do,” he said. “It doesn’t always work out.”
It did early in the second half, when his dunk ignited the crowd of 5,132.
“It was a huge momentum shift,” he said. “The crowd was rockin’ after that.”
TAKING THE BLAME
Boyle blamed himself for not using Colorado’s full allotment of timeouts to try to cool off the Trojans.
“We’re not able to handle it when a crowd gets going,” he said. “We let that get in our heads. We let it speed us up. I don’t know if a timeout is going to help that, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt it and it would make me feel better. I have to take full responsibility for this loss because we played well enough to win.”
Colorado: Visits UCLA on Saturday.
USC: Hosts Utah on Sunday, having lost five straight to the Utes.
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