Stewart leads USC to Las Vegas Classic title game|
Dec. 23, 2016
LAS VEGAS (AP) Elijah Stewart scored 21 points to lead No. 23 Southern California past Missouri State 83-75 in the third round of the Las Vegas Classic on Thursday night as the Trojans remained one of six unbeaten teams in Division I.
The Trojans (12-0) never trailed, shooting 55 percent from the field. They play Wyoming in the championship game on Friday night.
Jordan McLaughlin added 19 points, while Metu Chimezie had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Trojans.
Stewart was 7 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Alize Johnson and Ronnie Rousseau III led Missouri State (8-4) with 17 points each. Johnson had nine rebounds. Ryan Kreklow had 12 points while Dequon Miller added 11 as the Bears finished 13 of 35 from 3-point range.
USC outscored the Bears in the paint 38-18.
The Trojans' 19-point second-half lead was cut to 70-63 with 1:23 left, but the Bears got no closer after taking a barrage of 3-pointers down the stretch.
This was the first meeting between the schools.
USC: The Trojans' winning streak to start the season is their longest since 1971, when they won 16 straight. Coming in, the Trojans were seventh nationally in blocks, averaging 7.0 per game. However, USC only had four Thursday.
MISSOURI STATE: This was the Bears' toughest test of the year, facing their first Top 25 opponent. This was only the second time Missouri State trailed at the half this season. In the first 18 minutes of the game, no Bear had two field goals, until Miller got his second on a 3-pointer with 2:01 left until halftime.
USC scored the game's first six points. After Missouri State answered with the next five, the Trojans went on an 8-0 run and built their largest lead of the half at 39-25. USC led 39-28 at halftime as the Trojans shot 57 percent from the field.
USC plays in the Classic's championship game against Wyoming on Friday night.
Missouri State plays DePaul for the second time this season in the consolation game Friday night. The Bears lost 68-66 at DePaul on Nov. 23.