Providence had the game in hand, until it didn’t.
The USC Trojans knocked off the Providence Friars in the First Four on Wednesday after roaring back to erase a 17-point deficit earlier in the game. USC advances out of Dayton to meet No. 6 seed SMU in Tulsa in the round of 64.
Bennie Boatwright led all scorers with 24 points, and he added seven rebounds in the win. It was a career-high scoring night for Boatwright.
The Trojans’ rallied in the second half for the seventh biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history. Guard Jordan McLaughlin went off for 18 points, while teammate Chimezie Metu added 15 points in the front court.
USC erased Providence’s big lead in only 14 minutes. Next for Andy Enfield’s Trojans: a Friday meeting with the sixth-seeded SMU Mustangs. USC beat SMU 78-73 in November, but both teams have evolved since that early-season matchup.
USC has came back from double-digit deficits 11 times this season, the most in the NCAA. This was nothing new for the Trojans, who had to rally just to make the First Four.
Providence was led by Emmit Holt’s 18 points in the loss.