Chimezie Metu scored 27 points and Bennie Boatwright added 23 as Southern California held off Middle Tennessee 89-84 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic.
"That was a battle from start to finish and I thought it was two very good teams playing at high levels today," USC coach Andy Enfield said.
USC: After he was ejected for drawing a flagrant-2 foul in Friday's quarterfinal win over Akron, Boatwright saw 37 minutes of court time in his return against the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee: The Blue Raiders held the edge in both points-off turnovers (19-7) and second-chance points (14-4), but attempted nine fewer free throws than the Trojans.
"They're a talented group, a good team and I thought it was a heck of a college basketball, but the whole difference if you look at the stats was just the free-throw line," Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said.
- WATCH: USC defeats Middle Tennessee, advances to Diamond Head Classic title gameDieHards
- USC rolls to 84-53 victory over Akron in Diamond Head Classic openerLos Angeles Times
- USC Opens Second Half To Blitz Akron 84-53CBS Los Angeles
- USC Trojans basketball Surges to 84-53 Win Over AkronConquest Chronicles
- USC vs. Middle Tennessee - 12/23/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and PredictionSports Chat Place (blog)
- MTSU men's basketball falls to USC 89-84 in Diamond Head ClassicThe Daily News Journal
- USC defeats Akron in Diamond Head openerReuters
- MT suffers narrow loss to USC in HonoluluGoBlueRaiders.com
- Metu, Boatwright lead USC past Middle TennesseeReuters