Vince Iwuchukwu makes his debut as USC holds off Colorado

Vince Iwuchukwu makes his debut as USC holds off Colorado

USC guard Boogie Ellis (5) shoots at Colorado guard KJ Simpson (2) during the second half Thursday at the Galen Center. (Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

Drew Peterson knocked down a jump shot with 1:35 left and added a pair of crucial free throws in the final seconds and Kobe Johnson hit four straight from the line as USC beat Colorado, 68-61 in a Pac Conference battle. -12 on Thursday night.

KJ Simpson brought the Buffaloes within one with his jumper with two minutes remaining, but the team committed several mistimed turnovers down the stretch and missed two late 3-pointers in the final half-minute.

As big as the win was for the Trojans, the debut of 7-foot-1 freshman Vince Iwuchukwu rivaled it for good news value. The former five-star recruit collapsed during informal training in July and suffered severe heart failure. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he stayed for several days. Iwuchukwu said in September that his recovery and rehabilitation remain positive. When he got up from the bench and trotted over to the scorer’s table, the home crowd gave him a standing ovation. He missed both of his shot attempts over 4 1/2 minutes.

Peterson finished with 15 points with three assists and four steals to lead USC (12-5, 4-2). Boogie Ellis scored 14 points and had six assists. Joshua Morgan finished with 12 points, three steals and four blocked shots.

Simpson led Colorado (11-7, 3-4) with 17 points. Tristan da Silva and Lawson Lovering each scored 13 points, with Lovering grabbing 14 rebounds. Javon Ruffin had 12 points and five rebounds off the bench.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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