Southern Methodist took a commanding double-digit lead about 12 minutes into USC’s NCAA tournament first round on Friday. For the Trojans, the game could unofficially begin.
USC’s slow starts and furious rallies have become a trademark. Friday was no different. SMU had hardly had an empty possession. The Mustangs were scoring 1.5 points per possession. In other words, USC would’ve been better off fouling each time SMU touched the ball.
Once again, USC tightened up. At halftime, USC had eaten into the deficit slightly, 38-30.
Arkansas did just enough in the final minute to push its way through the NCAA tournament's first round — aided by a couple of eye-catching calls and noncalls by the officiating crew, too.
Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help Arkansas hold off Seton Hall, 77-71, on Friday in the first round of the South Region.
Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-9), who erased an eight-point second-half hole and scored the final seven points of the game to earn the program's third straight opening-game NCAA win.