By MARK DIDTLER
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Freshman Bennie Boatright had a career-high 22 points and USC beat No. 20 Wichita State 72-69 in a first-round game Thursday at the AdvoCare Invittional.
Wichita State (2-2) played without senior guard Fred VanVleet, who missed his second consecutive game with ankle and hamstring injuries. He twisted his ankle in the season opener Nov. 13 against Charleston Southern and then was limited by hamstring soreness four days later in a game with Tulsa.
USC (5-0) also got 15 points from Jordan McLaughlin. It’s the Trojans best start since opening the 2000-01 season 8-0.
Ron Baker had 25 points and Markis McDuffie added 14 for Wichita State.
After the Trojans had their lead cut to one, Boatwright’s 3 from the corner gave USC a 64-60 advantage with 4 1-2 minutes left.
Boatright hit another 3-pointer, and then had a steal before Katin Reinhardt made a 3 to extend the USC advantage to 70-62 late.