Drew Peterson scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and USC rallied to beat Vermont 59-57 on Tuesday night.
Peterson made just one of seven shots in the first half and the Trojans (2-1) trailed 27-22 at intermission. But the senior came out after the break and hit five of seven shots from the floor, all five of his free throws and took over down the stretch.
Peterson’s layup tied the score at 30 with 13:44 left to play. From there the lead changed hands nine times until Peterson sank four consecutive free throws to give the Trojans a 46-44 lead with 4:43 remaining.
Vermont (1-3) tied the score at 49 on a three-pointer by Nick Fiorillo with 3:01 left, but Peterson answered with a layup and a three-point play and the Trojans stayed in front.
Peterson added eight rebounds and eight of USC’s 10 assists. Reese Dixon-Waters had 13 points, while Boogie Ellis scored 10.
Finn Sullivan sank three three-pointers and scored 17 to lead the Catamounts. He added six rebounds, three assists and blocked two shots. Dylan Penn scored 11.
USC beat Vermont 64-56 in December 2014 in the only other meeting between the schools.
USC is coming off a program record-tying 26-win season. USC’s 73 wins over the last three seasons are two better than any previous three-year run.
This was the third game of an eight-game road trip for Vermont. The Catamounts will travel more than 8,400 miles this month.
“He played great in the second half,” Coach Andy Enfield said. “He made the right decisions, made the right plays.”
All told, Peterson scored or assisted on 14 of USC’s last 17 points to wrap up the win, with Enfield calling several post-up isolations for the senior to take control of the final minutes. And he finished the game with zero turnovers.
“I appreciate the trust that the staff has with me,” Peterson said. “There’s trust across the board. I know we’re shooting poor right now but we have a team that can shoot the ball. It showed at the end and we’re going to keep working.”
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