The Trojans made a name for themselves this week as the comeback cats of March, but it wasn’t meant to be on Sunday night as the men’s basketball team fell to Baylor in the Round of 32, knocking USC out of the NCAA Tournament after two thrilling comeback wins.After overcoming a 17-point deficit versus Providence and a 12-point deficit versus SMU, the 11th-seeded Trojans found themselves in familiar territory, down 10 to the third-seeded Bears. By halftime, USC cut Baylor’s lead to 5 and in the second half led by as many as 4. However, the magic ended for the Trojans after Baylor point guard Manu Lecomte scored 8 points in 46 seconds with just over four minutes to play.His solo run catapulted Baylor to a 73-67 lead. They never relinquished their hold on the game until the buzzer sounded to an 82-78 Bears win.In literal Cinderella fashion, the Trojans’ run came down to a single slipper. With 5:30 to play, freshman guard De’Anthony Melton lost his shoe and tumbled over sophomore forward Chimezie Metu, knocking the big man out of bounds. At the time of the turnover, USC led 65-63, but Baylor closed the game on a 19-13 run.Other than the final minutes, the arc of this game was similar to the Trojans’ previous two. They started hot on offense but struggled on defense and then roared back to life in the second half. Whereas junior guard Elijah Stewart had been the hero on offense last game against SMU, on Sunday the Trojans enjoyed balanced scoring.Metu finished with 28 points, but the team lived and died with sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright. Boatwright scored USC’s first 8 points in the opening 2:30 before quietly not scoring until the second half. He ended up with 16 points for the game, but a couple ill-advised shots down the stretch cost the Trojans key possessions. After Lecomte’s 8-point spurt, Boatwright heaved a 30-footer early in the shot clock. It signaled the start of Trojan desperation time. With seconds to play, he missed another off-balanced 3-point shot which put the final nail in USC’s coffin.In the midst of his offensive woes down the stretch, Boatwright managed to take a charge from Baylor’s leading scorer and rebounder Johnathan Motley. Motley fouled out of the game with 1:39 to play after picking up all five of his fouls in the second half. Nevertheless, his absence did not faze the Bears thanks to Lecomte’s incredible run.Jake Casino | Daily TrojanThe Miami transfer scored all 12 of his points in the final five minutes. After missing his first five 3-point attempts, Lecomte completed a 4-point play, made three more baskets and sank two free throws to steady the Bears.Lecomte was not the only unlikely hero for the Bears. Forward Terry Maston scored 19 off the bench, and guard King McClure added 17 more. A year and a half ago, doctors told McClure he had a heart condition that would keep him from playing basketball competitively, yet 18 months of hard work have gotten him back into the Bears’ starting lineup. While McClure only averaged 4.6 points per game going into Sunday, he led all scorers with 14 in the first half.USC’s bench only scored 4 points — all coming from freshman forward Nick Rakocevic.For the starters, Melton scored 7 points, junior guard Jordan McLaughlin scored 11 and junior guard Elijah Stewart scored 12. Stewart made two timely corner 3-pointers in the first half to keep USC in the game. His third put USC in the lead with 10:18 to play. It was the Trojans’ first lead since 10-9.Immediately thereafter, Stewart slammed home a dunk and converted the 3-point play. His scoring outburst marked the apex of USC’s March magic — atwo-and-three-quarters game run that put USC basketball back on the national map for the first time in a decade. With a program-high 26 wins this season, no graduates who played significant minutes and a fierce tournament reputation, the Trojans will have a lot of hype around them come next season.
“Definitely the trials will not be postponed. We will have wrestlers competing in the 74kg. What can we do if Sushil is injured,” Sharan told PTI. “We will see the performance of the winner in the 74kg in ranking series event. Then we will decide what next step we can take,” Sharan said when asked if Sushil can be given a chance to compete at the Asian Qualifiers. WATCH US LIVE LIVE TV The winners in the trials will make the Indian team for 2020 season’s first Ranking Series tournament in Rome (January 15-18), Asian Championship in New Delhi (February 18-23) and Asian Olympic Qualifier in Xian, China from March 27 to 29. WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said the trails will be held in all categories — five Olympic classes in men’s freestyle and six in Greco-Roman style. Written By The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will go ahead with the trials in the men’s freestyle 74kg category despite a postponement request from injured Sushil Kumar. However, the celebrated grappler may get a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in March. Sushil, who has been struggling to revive his career, has pulled out of Friday’s trials citing a hand injury and had requested trials in his category to be postponed.READ | Barry Alvarez Shuns Annoying Grandson During Wisconsin Badgers’ Rose Bowl 2020 GameTrials in Sushil’s 74kg category not to be postponed COMMENT Last Updated: 2nd January, 2020 18:39 IST Trials In Sushil’s 74kg Category Not To Be Postponed: WFI The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will go ahead with the trials in the men’s freestyle 74kg category despite a postponement request from injured Sushil Press Trust Of India SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 2nd January, 2020 18:39 IST READ | Conor McGregor’s Coach Warns Donald Cerrone Ahead Of Their Main Event Clash At UFC 246India had secured Olympic quotas in three men’s freestyle categories through Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang (65kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) while Vinesh Phogat (53kg) was the lone woman grappler to grab a Tokyo Games quota at the World Championships in Nur Sultan. While Ravi, Deepak and Vinesh have been asked to compete in the trails, competition in their categories will be held only for the Rome and the New Delhi events. “If the WFI feels that we do not have a strong candidate going for the Asian Qualifier (for Tokyo Games) in March, the federation may ask Sushil to appear in a trial,” said WFI Assistant secretary Vinod Tomar. READ | Qamar: Exposure To International Tournaments Has Helped Young Boxers Grow In IndiaSushil has been struggling to revive his career and was training vigourously with his Russian coach Kamal Malikov. “I will be fit in two weeks’ time. Don’t worry, I will be back. I had sustained this hand injury after the Worlds while training. The WFI knew about it. It’s ok if they are going ahead with the trials,” Sushil told PTI. The women’s trials will be held in Lucknow on Saturday. READ | Tussle Continues In AICF, Jt Secy Takes Exception To Treasurer’s “rowdy” Remark FOLLOW US