PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP)Boogie Ellis scored 21 of his 27 points after the break to help Southern California beat BYU 82-76 in Wednesday’s first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The 27 points tied a career high for Ellis, who made all five of his shots and 11 of 13 free throws after halftime for the Trojans (4-1). With the guard leading the way, USC made 18 of 29 shots (62.1%) after the break, turning a 31-30 halftime lead into a double-digit margin by the 13-minute mark and ultimately an 18-point bulge with about five minutes left.
From there, the Trojans had some trouble protecting that cushion – and the ball – as the Cougars tried to rally. BYU got a 3-pointer from Rudi Williams followed by an immediate one from Jaxson Robinson after a 5-second violation on USC, then Robinson struck again from the right corner to suddenly cut the deficit to 75-67 with 1:38 left.
But the Cougars, while continuing to keep the pressure on, got no closer until the final 15 seconds when the outcome was largely decided.
Drew Peterson added 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Trojans.
Spencer Johnson scored 18 points to lead BYU (3-2), which missed 13 of 18 shots to start the second half as USC made its move out of the break.
Robinson added 16 while Williams had 15 points for BYU.
The Trojans advanced to Thursday’s semifinals to face the Butler-Tennessee winner. The Cougars will face the Butler-Tennessee loser in Thursday’s consolation bracket.
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