RALEIGH, N.C. – Rodney Bullock hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left and Providence beat Southern California 70-69 on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Ben Bentil scored 19 points and Bullock finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the ninth-seeded Friars (24-10) earn their first win in the tournament since 1997. They will face top-seeded North Carolina (29-6) on Saturday in the second round of the East Regional.
Jordan McLaughlin had 15 points for eighth-seeded Southern California (21-13), which missed the front ends of two 1-and-1s in the final minute.
Julian Jacobs’ missed free throw with 11.6 seconds set up Providence’s last chance. Big East player of the year Kris Dunn missed a jumper with about 5 seconds left and the rebound went out of bounds to the Friars.
Drew Edwards then inbounded the ball to Bullock and he banked in the go-ahead layup. Jacobs took the inbounds pass for USC and let it fly from midcourt but failed to draw iron.
Dunn finished with 16 points despite persistent foul trouble. He hit a 3-pointer over McLaughlin that tied it at 68 with about 90 seconds to play.
Nikola Jovanovic had 14 points for the Trojans. Bennie Boatwright finished with 11 and hit a free throw with 58.7 seconds left that gave Southern Cal a 69-68 lead.
After the teams traded misses on the three possessions that followed, the Trojans’ Elijah Stewart missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 27.6 seconds to play before Providence wound up giving the ball right back to USC.
Kyron Cartwright finished with 10 points for the Friars, who went one-and-done in the tournament in each of the last two years. Their previous victory came during their God Shammgod-led run to the Elite Eight in 1997.
Elijah Stewart finished with 10 points for the Trojans, whose first tournament appearance since 2011 wound up being a short one.
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