HONOLULU (AP) — Elijah Stewart scored 20 points, Chimezie Metu 16 and Jonah Mathews 13 and Southern California rallied past Akron for an 84-53 win in a first-round game of the Diamond Head Classic Friday.
USC (7-4) overcame a nine-point deficit in the first half and narrowed the deficit to 33-29 at halftime. The Trojans emerged from the break on a 20-5 run with Stewart and Metu scoring 15 to put USC up 49-38 with 14:39 to play.
The Trojans shot 61 percent (17 of 28) from the field in the second half and were 27 of 55 (49.1) overall.
Stewart, a 6-foot-5 senior guard, shot 6 of 14 from the field, but made three of his seven attempts from beyond the arc, and was 5 of 6 at the free-throw line. He scored 15 of his points after halftime.
USC was 10 of 23 deep and 20 of 27 at the free throw line.
Jaden Sayles scored 12 points and Daniel Utomi and Eric Parris added 11 apiece for Akron (6-3).
Akron: The Zips have yet to win a game away from their home court this season. All six of their victories have taken place at the James A. Rhodes Arena. Friday’s game marked their first contest on a neutral court this year. They’ve been outscored by an average of 22 points in their three losses.
USC: After dropping four of its last six games, the Trojans got back into the win column and just about emptied its bench in doing so. Twelve of 13 players got in the game and all but one scored.
Akron, which saw its three-game win streak snapped, will take on Princeton in a consolation semifinal Saturday.
USC will play in a championship semifinal Saturday against Middle Tennessee, which has won six of its last seven games.
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