LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jordan McLaughlin had 26 points and 13 assists, Nick Rakocevic added 24 points with 19 rebounds and short-handed USC needed two overtimes to beat UNC Asheville 103-98 on Tuesday night in the NIT’s first round.
McLaughlin was fouled on a drive with 25.1 seconds left in regulation and made two free throws to tie it at 70 after the Trojans had made just five of their first 16. UNC Asheville dribbled down the clock, but Ahmad Thomas’ contested jumper was short.
Jonathan Baehre faked a high screen and rolled for an open dunk to give UNC Asheville an 83-82 lead in the first overtime. After a USC miss, Macio Teague made two free throws at 13.6 for a three-point lead but McLaughlin drilled a 3 to tie it at 6.4 and Teague was short at the buzzer.
McLaughlin’s rainbow floater over Teague gave USC a 96-95 lead and after Teague was short on a step-back jumper, Elijah Stewart had a fast-break 3-point play for a four-point lead. UNC Ashville’s Raekwon Miller made a free throw with 2.8 to go and intentionally missed the second but USC secured the rebound.
Stewart added 22 points for USC (24-11), which advanced as a top-seed to face Western Kentucky. Chimezie Metu, leading the team with 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds, elected not to play to help stay healthy for the upcoming NBA Draft.
Baehre scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds — both career highs — for his third double-double of the season for UNC Asheville (21-13). Teague added 26 points with six 3-pointers.
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