RALEIGH, N.C. — If I told you that Providence beat Southern California on a last-second layup, you would probably assume that it was from Kris Dunn to Ben Bentil. After all, those were the stars that carried Providence for much of the season, and when it’s crunch time, you expect them to be the players getting the call from Ed Cooley.
Dunn and Bentil ran their play, trailing by one with 16 seconds left, and Bentil was blocked at the rim by USC’s Chimezie Metu before losing the ball out of bounds to USC. But when Julian Jacobs, who otherwise played very well Thursday night, missed a free throw and gave ninth-seeded Providence another opportunity to win the game, the call went elsewhere.
Drew Edwards only played 12 minutes but found Rodney Bullock wide open at the rim from under the basket; Bullock laid it in off the glass with just one second left on the clock to give the Friars a 70-69 lead.
Bullock told us after the game that he recognized USC’s defense getting drawn away because of Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil’s action. Edwards waited almost four seconds with the ball in his hands under the basket, but then heard Bullock call for the ball.
“I was supposed to curl off of Kris [Dunn] and I suppose both men went with him,” Bullock said, explaining the final play. He realized he was open, so he called for the ball.
Rodney Bullock = Hero #MarchMadnesshttps://t.co/pdllBsjQRr
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2016
“It looked like we took their first and second option away. But one of our guys made a mistake and we left a guy open under the basket,” USC coach Andy Enfield said after the game.
USC’s last-second heave fell short, and Providence advanced to the second round where it will play No. 1 seed North Carolina on Saturday.