Long Beach State beats Southern California in OT, spoils Bronny James’ debut

Marcus Tsohonis scored 28 points, Aboubacar Traore added eight points, eight rebounds and had one of his three blocked shots in the closing seconds as Long Beach State rallied from a 17-point deficit to spoil the Southern California debut of Bronny James, 84-79 in overtime, on Sunday in Los Angeles.

James, the son of NBA star LeBron James, was making his debut after suffering cardiac arrest in July. He finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 16 minutes off the bench.

Jadon Jones scored 18 points before fouling out for Long Beach State (7-4), and AJ George added 12 points and four blocked shots.

Isaiah Collier had 15 points and five steals and Vincent Iwuchukwu also had 15 points for USC (5-4) . Boogie Ellis scored 14 points in the loss.

Long Beach State dug a 17-point, first-half hole and went into halftime down 45-30 as USC pounced early in front of a sold-out Galen Center. A 44-29 second half forced overtime, where the Beach scored the extra period’s first four points to set the tone en route to their first win at USC since 1987.

Tsohonis opened the extra frame with a layup, then Traore threw down a dunk to build a 78-74 lead Long Beach State never relinquished.

USC had opportunities to tie in the extra frame, but a woeful free-throw shooting performance for the day — 20-of-36 overall — continued when the Trojans shot 3-of-6 in overtime.

Long Beach State, meanwhile, shot 30-of-40 from the foul line and 4-of-5 in overtime, all by Tsohonis down the stretch to put the game on ice.

After Tsohonis made two to extend the lead to three points, Traore rejected Collier at the rim on the ensuing USC possession to seal Long Beach State’s fourth straight victory.

The home erupted when James recorded his first collegiate points, a transition 3-pointer with a little more than 13 minutes remaining in the regulation. The score was set up when James contested a shot on the other end, ran the floor and a driving Ellis dished to James open on the wing.

James also stripped Tsohonis with USC leading by a point in the final minute, with the steal setting up a pair of free throws. James split the foul shots, and Tsohonis hit the overtime-forcing jumper on the following Beach possession.