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J’Vonne Hadley leads big Colorado comeback in win over USC

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado clearly learned a thing or two in Thursday night’s 20-point debacle, coming home and staging their own big second half comeback in a 68-58 win over University of Southern California on Friday night.

J’Vonne Hadley was the Buffs’ fourth leading-scorer in as many games, putting up 15 (7-11) to go along with a season-high nine rebounds. Cody Williams had another strong performance in his second game back, adding 13 points, two blocks and a steal of his own. Eddie Lampkin (12) and Tristan da Silva (12) were the only other Buffs in double-digits.

Shots just weren’t falling early – Colorado was 9-29 from the field and 2-10 from three in the first half – and USC’s Oziyah Sellers took advantage. Sellers, who was only making his second start of the season, had 16 of the Trojans’ 37 first half points, and finished with a game-high 18. After a Sellers jumper gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the game (16) with a little under eight minutes left, the Buffs managed to end the half down 13, thanks to a few good minutes of offense from da Silva and Williams.

Hadley took over in the second, almost literally from the jump – his back-to-back layups to open half helped Colorado race out to a 6-0 start, part of a 12-2 run that had the Buffs back in a one possession game in under four minutes. Soon after, it was Luke O’Brien’s three, followed immediately by a Hadley steal and layup, that gave the Buffs their first lead since the early first half. Both teams traded buckets for the next couple minutes and by the three-minute mark, Colorado only led by four. But after USC forward Arrinton Page missed his second free throw, the Buffs went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, and KJ Simpson’s three with a minute left sealed Colorado’s first win of 2024.

With the win, the Buffs improved to 12-5 on the year, (3-3 in Pac-12) and they still haven’t lost a game in Boulder yet (10-0). Their next game is Thursday night, with Pac-12 leading Oregon in town. Tipoff for that is scheduled for 8:30pm.