Boogie Ellis returned to the lineup to score 28 points after missing time due to an ankle injury, and No. 16 Southern California survived a test from Brown in an 81-70 victory in Los Angeles on Sunday.
USC (3-1) came into its final contest of a three-game homestand coming off its first loss of the season, a 70-60 setback against UC Irvine on Tuesday, when both Ellis and Kobe Johnson were sidelined. The duo returned on Sunday, with Ellis adding a team-high four assists to go with his game-high in points, while Johnson added 14 points.
Johnson connected on a tiebreaking 3-pointer with just over four minutes remaining in regulation to give the Trojans a lead they would never relinquish.
Brown (1-4) dug a 15-point hole in the first half as Ellis capped a 13-2 USC run with a 3-pointer. Kino Lilly Jr. and Felix Kloman helped lead a Bears rally, headlining a 14-2 surge to close the half.
Kloman hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, sending the Bears into intermission down just three points.
Any time USC looked ready to start pulling away in the second half, Lilly seemed to provide the answer. He hit a 3-pointer with 7:09 remaining that cut an eight-point deficit to five.
That began a stretch of Lilly — Brown’s leading scorer on the night with 24 points — scoring 11 straight Bears points. His individual outburst culminated in a game-tying 3-pointer with 4:54 to go.
Johnson’s 3-pointer, however, and another from Ellis with 33 seconds remaining, bookended a stretch in which USC made 7 of 8 foul shots to pull away. The Trojans capitalized on a Kloman technical foul, which disqualified him with 11 points off the bench.
USC shot 21-for-32 from the foul line on the night, while Brown made 11 of 18 free-throw attempts. Ellis shot 6 of 11 from 3-point range, and Isaiah Collier, who scored 24 points, went 3-for-5 from deep to pace the Trojans to a 12-for-24 night from beyond the arc.
Lilly went 4-for-13 from long range to lead Brown. The Bears shot 9-for-33 from outside and 25-for-61 from the floor overall. USC went 24 of 56 from the field.
–Field Level Media
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