Win streak snapped as Runnin’ Utes get thrashed by USC

Utah Utes forward Tyler Rawson (21) drives past USC Trojans guard Jordan Usher (1) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Chimezie Metu, despite being listed in documents produced by the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, played and scored 14 points to lead Southern California 74-58 over Utah on Saturday.

utesJordan Usher matched his career high with 14 points and the Trojans (21-9, 12-5 Pac-12 Conference) bolstered their case for an NCAA Tournament bid with their fourth straight win.

After the Utes battled back to 55-49, Elijah Stewart made back-to-back dunks to spark a 16-0 run to clinch the game. Stewart finished with 10 points.

In the midst of the run, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak got a technical foul with 7:27 to go and had to be restrained by his assistants from chasing the officials.

David Collette paced Utah (18-10, 10-7) with 14 points as the Utes saw their five-game win streak snapped.

USC guard Jordan McLaughlin (11) attempts to drive past Utah forward Tyler Rawson (21) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)

USC held the Utes to 3-of-15 shooting to start the game and frustration led to mistakes. Collette got a flagrant-1 foul with 7:12 left in the first half for an excessive push.

The aggressive Trojans took advantage of weak passes and surged to a 36-19 lead after a dunk by Usher and Shaqquan Aaron’s 3-pointer.

BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans swept the Utes and now have a firm hold on second place in the Pac-12. Most prognosticators have USC firmly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament but this win will probably push them forward for an at-large bid.

Utah: The Utes had a chance to make a big statement and win their sixth straight game as they’ve been laying their best basketball of the season. Committing 15 turnovers and shooting 40.7 percent from the field doomed their streak and makes a deep Pac-12 tournament run crucial to their post-season hopes.

ELIGIBLE?

Meta and junior forward Bennie Boatwright were both named in an explosive report published Friday by Yahoo! Sports.

USC athletic director Lynn Swann released a statement Saturday, stating, “USC’s Office of Athletic Compliance launched an immediate investigation to determine the eligibility of Chimezie Metu, who was among those noted in a media report about payments by agents to college basketball players or their family members. Based on the available documents and a number of interviews, we determined that Chimezie is eligible to play in today’s game at Utah. If additional information becomes available, we will act accordingly.”

The Utah student section had signs like “Need Money? Metu! (Me too)” and chanted, “Payroll! Payroll!” whenever he had the ball or returned to the bench.

USC also announced that it will look into the eligibility of junior forward Bennie Boatwright, who is named in the documents.

No current Utes were named in the documents, but former Ute and current Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma was listed as having received a “loan.”

UP NEXT

USC hosts UCLA in the regular-season finale next Saturday.

Utah hosts Colorado next Saturday.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.