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USC squanders big lead before edging TCU

Nick Rakocevic scored on a put-back to break a tie with two seconds left in regulation, and Southern California recovered from blowing an 18-point lead to defeat TCU 80-78 on Friday night in nonconference action at Fort Worth, Texas.

Jonah Mathews led the Trojans (8-2) with 20 points. Onyeka Okongwu added 13 points, Rakocevic had 12 and Ethan Anderson contributed 10.

Kevin Samuel led the Horned Frogs (6-2) with 17 points and 11 rebounds. TCU also got 13 points from Desmond Bane, 12 from Edric Dennis Jr. and 11 from RJ Nembhard.

USC was ahead 52-34 one minute into the second half. However, TCU made a 12-2 run midway through the half to pull within 61-58 with 9:29 left.

The Trojans ended that sequence by getting a 3-pointer from Elijah Weaver for a six-point lead with 9:23 left.

With 5:28 left, USC led just 69-65 after a layup from the Horned Frogs' Kevin Samuel. The Trojans then held TCU scoreless for the next three minutes to take a 74-65 edge with 2:28 to go on a dunk by Okongwu.

The Trojans were still on top by nine with 1:22 remaining, but TCU had another run left.

The Horned Frogs used a three-point play, a steal, and a dunk to slice USC's lead back to 78-74 with 47 seconds left.

The Trojans then missed two separate front ends of one-and-one free-throw chances, and Dennis made a pair of foul shots with 18 seconds left to cut the gap to 78-76.

USC then missed two more foul shots to give the hosts another chance to rally. TCU's Kevin Samuel scored to tie the game at 78-78 with eight seconds left. He was fouled, but he missed the potential go-ahead free throw, setting up Rakocevic's game-winner off a miss from Anderson.

USC used two small runs in separate portions of the first half to build a 47-34 halftime lead.

--Field Level Media

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