LOS ANGELES | Drew Peterson knocked down a clutch jumper with 1:35 left and added a pair of clutch free throws in the closing seconds and Kobe Johnson hit four straight from the line as Southern California held off Colorado, 68-61 in a Pac-12 Conference battle on Thursday night.
KJ Simpson pulled the Buffaloes within one with his jumper with two minutes to play, but the team committed several untimely turnovers down the stretch and misfired on 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 its good-news value. The former five-star recruit collapsed during an informal workout in July, suffering major 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 stood up from the bench and trotted toward the scorer’s table, the home crowd gave him a standing ovation. He missed both of his shot attempts during four-and-a-half 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 pulling down 14 rebounds. Javon Ruffin added 12 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Colorado remains in L.A. to face UCLA Saturday.
USC plays host to Utah Saturday.