USC’s go-ahead possession late in the second half against Texas A&M could not have summarized the tide of events throughout the whole game any better: The Trojans fell short at times, but stuck with plays en route to a 65-63 victory over the Aggies on the road Friday night. With USC (3-0) trailing by a point with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation, sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright had his three-point attempt deflected — the ball then fell into the reach of sophomore forward Chimezie Metu, who batted the ball back out to the three point line. Junior guard Jordan McLaughlin was the recipient of the volleyball-esque pass, and he proceeded to lob an alley-oop to a newly-open Metu who slammed the ball into the net to give USC a 64-63 lead, which it would not relinquish. “We played a very good basketball team. It’s very difficult to win here at this arena,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “Lots of credit to [Texas A&M coach Billy] Kennedy, and to the players of this university. We were fortunate to come away with a victory here tonight.”Entering the final minute of regulation, USC trailed the Aggies (2-1), 63-60. Two free throws from Boatwright — who was making his season-debut Friday night coming off of an injury — with 56 seconds remaining pulled the Trojans within one. The McLaughlin-to-Metu alley-oop put USC ahead by one with 15 seconds remaining. Freshman guard De’Anthony Melton proceeded to steal a Texas A&M pass — he was then fouled and made a free throw that put USC ahead by the final score, 65-63. Texas A&M forward DJ Hogg missed a three-point attempt at the final buzzer, clinching the USC victory.With the victory Friday night, USC snapped Texas A&M’s 12-game winning streak against non-conference, high-major opponents on their home court. USC became the first high-major, non-league team to defeat the Aggies in their own arena since Miami did so back in 2001.The Trojans’ victory was sparked by big scoring runs to conclude both the first and second halves. USC finished the first half on a 18-7 run over the final six-and-a-half minutes; the Trojans finished the game on an 11-3 run to clinch the win. Junior guard Elijah Stewart recorded his first double-double of the young season against A&M, scoring 11 points and reeling in a team-high 11 rebounds. Metu’s go-ahead dunk in the second half was a part of his team-high 14 point performance Friday; he also recorded nine rebounds. The Trojans were able to prevent a big offensive performance from Texas A&M sophomore center Tyler Davis, who was averaging a team-high 16.5 PPG entering Friday night’s contest. Davis found himself in foul-trouble early on, and finished the game with eight points — he played 24 minutes in total. Overall, USC outrebounded Texas A&M Friday night, 47-44.The Trojans now return to the Galen Center Tuesday for a matchup with the visiting New Orleans Privateers — this contest will be the beginning of a five-game home stretch for USC.
The fastball exited Madison Bumgarner’s hand at 92 mph, Joc Pederson launched it out of Dodger Stadium at 106 mph, and the rookie center fielder tried to take off running at 107. He didn’t slow down.“I think I got lost in the moment,” Pederson said.Pederson rounded the bases with a sense of urgency birthed into existence painfully and gradually. He’d read Clayton Kershaw’s call for a new attitude after the Dodgers lost five straight games a couple weeks ago. Then he lost the starting center fielder’s job to Kiké Hernandez, and got it back for a day against Bumgarner in a critical series against the second-place team in the National League West.On a practical level, it didn’t matter how fast Pederson ran. The run counted just the same, and it made all the difference in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. The Dodgers extended their lead in the division to 5 1/2 games, matching a season high. Left-hander Luis Avilan replaced Greinke with one out and runners on first and second base. The next batter, Brandon Belt, fouled four pitches off before scorching a ground ball up the middle to rookie second baseman Jose Peraza.Peraza, who was acquired in the same July trade along with Avilan, gloved the ball with his backhand and flipped it in one motion to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who threw to first base to complete an inning-ending double play.“I’ve done it a few times in Triple-A,” Peraza said through an interpreter. “(Belt) hit it pretty hard and I thought I was going to be able to make that play.”Greinke called it “probably the best play of the game at the most important time.”• Photos: Los Angeles Dodgers Defeat San Francisco Giants 2-1More than a month remains in the season. Greinke might have another five or six starts left in his right arm. But the National League Cy Young Award is practically his; Greinke leads the major leagues with a 1.59 earned-run average, more than half a run lower than the next-closest qualified pitcher. In 125 seasons as a National League franchise, no pitcher has finished the season with a lower ERA since Rube Marquard in 1916. Ninety-nine years and two World Wars later, Greinke’s march to greatness is getting harder to compare, though Kershaw’s 2014 MVP season seems more appropriate by the week.Kershaw pitches the series finale today. He will be opposed by San Francisco right-hander Mike Leake.Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 28th save of the season. Adrian Gonzalez, who drove in the Dodgers’ first run, finished with two hits. So did right fielder Scott Van Slyke and catcher A.J. Ellis.Bumgarner scattered eight hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out eight. He allowed one run in the third inning when Gonzalez drove in Peraza with an RBI single.“I just didn’t expect us to be on the losing side of a 2-1 ballgame, but that’s the way it goes,” Bumgarner said. “You know it’s going to be a tough one going up against Greinke, and unfortunately they caught more breaks than we did.”Pederson’s 24th home run of the season was only his second hit over his last nine games. His batting average, the number listed next to his name in every box score, is still just .213. The 23-year-old is acutely aware of this, and since losing his starting job he’s been a frequent sight on the field with Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire for early batting practice. After hitting the home run, and sprinting around the bases, Pederson sought out McGwire in the Dodgers’ dugout.“He’s been there through the good and the bad, just putting in the time,” Pederson said. I’ve got to tip my cap to him being there supporting me, keeping it positive. He always reminds me how hard the game is. It’s a tough game. It’s learning, learning and lots of learning. “I think this win’s a lot more important as a team, just to come together.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Pederson hasn’t gotten lost in many moments this season, but when he does it’s hard to miss.“Hopefully more (moments) than that one,” he said. “And hopefully there’s some more to come.”Pederson wasn’t the only one lost in the moment Tuesday. The announced crowd of 48,060 at Dodger Stadium was treated to a heavily hyped duel between Bumgarner (16-7) and Zack Greinke (15-3) that delivered on its promise. Greinke allowed only two hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking one. He was sitting on 106 pitches when Dodgers manager Don Mattingly allowed him to take the mound in the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead. The Giants nearly staged a stunning comeback.Nori Aoki led off with a screaming line drive that new left fielder Justin Ruggiano leaped to catch. The next three batters all hit singles, the last of which drove in Gregor Blanco with the Giants’ first run. read more