USC basketball’s top 10 moments of 2020

USC's Jonah Mathews, middle, celebrates with fans after making a game-winning three-pointer to beat UCLA on March 7, 2020.
USC’s Jonah Mathews, middle, celebrates with fans after making a game-winning three-pointer to beat UCLA on March 7 at Galen Center.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Looking back at the top 10 moments for the USC men’s basketball team in 2020.

1. March 7: In what wound up being his final game as a Trojan, senior Jonah Mathews hits a buzzer-beating three-point shot to beat UCLA 54-52 and presumably clinch an invitation to an NCAA tournament that was ultimately canceled.

2. March 12: As a mass of cancellations sweeps through college basketball, the Pac-12 tournament is called off just a few hours before USC is set to debut against Arizona. The cancellation of the NCAA tournament follows shortly after.

3. Jan. 18: USC rallies from a 21-point second-half deficit to beat Stanford 82-78 in overtime and take the lead in the Pac-12. Elijah Weaver hits a three-pointer to force overtime and scores eight in the extra frame.

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Dec. 24, 2020

4. Nov. 18: Onyeka Okongwu declares for the NBA draft and becomes the fourth Trojan selected in the top 10 as the Atlanta Hawks choose him sixth.

5. Nov. 25: Evan Mobley, the highest-rated recruit in USC history, debuts for the Trojans, scoring 21 points in an overtime victory over Cal Baptist and averaging 17 points per game over his first five games.

6. Dec. 13: A positive coronavirus case leads USC to pause team activities for two weeks, forcing the postponement of two conference games (Stanford and Oregon State) and the cancellation of two nonconference games (San Francisco and Texas Southern).

7. Feb. 8: USC suffers an epic collapse in Tempe, Ariz., turning the ball over 16 times in the second half to fall in the final minute to Arizona State 66-64.

A day after losing to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, USC announced it will not play in a bowl game because of the risks associated with COVID-19.

Dec. 19, 2020


8. Feb. 27: With its NCAA tournament resume in desperate need of a boost, USC holds Arizona to 28% shooting in a 57-48 win over the Wildcats at Galen Center.

9. Dec. 3: USC misses seven of eight shots at the end of the game, including three in a row in the final 12 seconds, to fall to Connecticut 61-58 in its first marquee game of the 2020-21 season.

10. Feb. 23: With its leaders, Jonah Mathews and Nick Rakocevic, suffering from a severe case of the flu, the Trojans fall to Utah 79-65 as both seniors try valiantly to play through their illness.