USC tops New Mexico State 77-72 to win Diamond Head Classic
The Associated Press
December 25, 2017 06:22 PM
HONOLULU (AP) - Bennie Boatwright drained a long 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left and Southern California held off New Mexico State 77-72 in the title game of the Diamond Head Classic Monday.
The Trojans (9-4) won the tournament for the second time in program history with their third consecutive win. They also won the inaugural tournament in 2009.
Boatwright, a 6-foot-10 junior, scored a career-high 33 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including six 3-pointers. He also shot a perfect 7 of 7 from the free-throw line, grabbed seven rebounds and was named the tournament's most valuable player.
New Mexico State held a 72-68 lead with 1:58 remaining, but Jordan McLaughlin banked in a 7-foot jumper and Jonah Mathews tied it with his coast-to-coast layup with 1:01 left.
Boatwright's trey from about 26-feet on the left wing gave the Trojans the lead for good.
McLaughlin added 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds for the Trojans, who shot 51 percent (26 of 51) from the field and 11 of 21 from beyond the arc.
Zach Lofton scored 28 points to lead the Aggies (11-3), who saw their five-game win streak snapped.
The score was tied at 34 at halftime.
USC: Mathews made his return after missing the Trojans' semifinal victory over Middle Tennessee Saturday. The sophomore guard shot 4 of 6 from the field and finished with nine points, three rebounds and an assist in 28 minutes played.
New Mexico State: The Aggies were seeking their first tournament championship since the 2004-05 season, when it defeated Central Florida in Fairbanks, Alaska.
USC will host Washington Friday and Washington State Sunday to start the Pac-12 portion of its schedule. The Trojans were picked to finish second in the conference.
New Mexico State, the preseason pick to finish second in the WAC, will visit UC Irvine Thursday before opening up conference play at Chicago State on Jan. 6.
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The Associated Press
Created: December 25, 2017 06:22 PM
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.