The Trojans technically were upset winners on Friday, beating a Boston College team that was seeded three places higher than they were when the brackets were announced last Sunday. But USC left little doubt who the better team was, and behind 24 points from Taj Gibson, the Trojans advanced to the second round by beating BC 72-55.
Gibson wasn't just stellar for the Trojans, he was darn near perfect: he hit on all 10 of his field goal attempts, and went 4-of-5 from the free throw line. How great was that performance? Just the second best in NCAA tournament history with a minimum of 10 attempts, that's all. Dwight Lewis and DeMar DeRozan weren't too bad themselves, as they finished with 20 and 18, respectively.
The game was a tight, back-and-forth affair in the first half, with USC jumping out to an early seven-point lead, before BC went on a 14-2 run to take a lead of their own at 23-18. The Trojans answered with a 9-0 run, and the game went like that until halftime, where the Eagles entered the locker room with a 34-30 advantage.
The second half was all USC. After the Eagles went up by seven on a three-pointer from Rakim Sanders, the Trojans tied it by going on a 7-0 run, then grabbed an eight-point lead by holding BC scoreless for a stretch of almost five minutes. USC continued to extended their lead to as many as 17 points, which ended up being their final margin of victory.
Next up for USC is the winner of the 2-15 game between Michigan State and Robert Morris. Beating a 10th-seeded Boston College team was only a minor upset; if the Trojans are somehow able to get past the Spartans in the second round, that would be a major one.