SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Chimezie Metu, despite being listed in documents produced by the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, played and scored 14 points to lead Southern California 74-58 over Utah on Saturday.
After the Utes battled back to 55-49, Elijah Stewart made back-to-back dunks to spark a 16-0 run to clinch the game. Stewart finished with 10 points.
In the midst of the run, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak got a technical foul with 7:27 to go and had to be restrained by his assistants from chasing the officials.
David Collette paced Utah (18-10, 10-7) with 14 points as the Utes saw their five-game win streak snapped.
USC held the Utes to 3-of-15 shooting to start the game and frustration led to mistakes. Collette got a flagrant-1 foul with 7:12 left in the first half for an excessive push.
The aggressive Trojans took advantage of weak passes and surged to a 36-19 lead after a dunk by Usher and Shaqquan Aaron’s 3-pointer.
USC: The Trojans swept the Utes and now have a firm hold on second place in the Pac-12. Most prognosticators have USC firmly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament but this win will probably push them forward for an at-large bid.
Utah: The Utes had a chance to make a big statement and win their sixth straight game as they’ve been laying their best basketball of the season. Committing 15 turnovers and shooting 40.7 percent from the field doomed their streak and makes a deep Pac-12 tournament run crucial to their post-season hopes.
Meta and junior forward Bennie Boatwright were both named in an explosive report published Friday by Yahoo! Sports.
USC athletic director Lynn Swann released a statement Saturday, stating, “USC’s Office of Athletic Compliance launched an immediate investigation to determine the eligibility of Chimezie Metu, who was among those noted in a media report about payments by agents to college basketball players or their family members. Based on the available documents and a number of interviews, we determined that Chimezie is eligible to play in today’s game at Utah. If additional information becomes available, we will act accordingly.”
The Utah student section had signs like “Need Money? Metu! (Me too)” and chanted, “Payroll! Payroll!” whenever he had the ball or returned to the bench.
USC also announced that it will look into the eligibility of junior forward Bennie Boatwright, who is named in the documents.
No current Utes were named in the documents, but former Ute and current Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma was listed as having received a “loan.”
USC hosts UCLA in the regular-season finale next Saturday.
Utah hosts Colorado next Saturday.
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