LAS VEGAS — D’Shawn Schwartz scored on a rebound slam with 3.3 seconds left, McKinley Wright IV shook off an elbow to the head to score 24 points and No. 23 Colorado held off No. 24 Southern California 72-70 in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals Friday night.
No. 2 seed USC (22-7) trailed by 10 with 4 1/2 minutes left, but tied it after Evan Mobley hit a 3-pointer and Tahj Eaddy scored on a three-point play with 35 seconds left.
On Colorado’s final possession, Wright had a 3-pointer rim out and Schwartz sneaked along the baseline to slam the ball down. The Trojans couldn’t get off a final shot after Wright deflected a pass in Colorado’s end.
The third-seeded Buffaloes (22-7) shot 12 of 24 from 3-point range to reach the Pac-12 Tournament title game for the first time since winning it in 2012. Colorado moves on to play No. 5 seed Oregon State on Saturday.
Mobley kept the Trojans in it in the first half and dominated at both ends, finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
The only ranked teams in the bracket had their hands full just to get to the semifinals.
USC needed two overtimes to outlast No. 7 seed Utah for a 91-85 win in the quarterfinals. Colorado had to overcome an abysmal-shooting first half and hold off 11th-seeded California late for a 61-58 win.
The Buffaloes got off to a much better start against USC, using an 11-0 run to go up 14-6, but appeared to suffer a huge loss when Wright was elbowed in the head after tangling with USC’s Chevez Goodwin. The unanimous first-team All-Pac-12 guard lay on the floor for several minutes and had to be helped to the locker room.
Colorado didn’t seem to miss a beat, continuing the run to push its lead to 20-6, and Wright came back a few minutes.
Mobley, who got off to a slow start against Utah, had 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help USC pull within 39-30 at halftime. The rest of the Trojans were a combined 5 of 17.
USC fell into a big hole, was able to rally, but missed one critical block out that cost it the game.
Wright proved he’s one of college basketball’s toughest players and Colorado showed a bit of grit by holding off the athletic Trojans.
Colorado will play Oregon State in Saturday’s title game.
USC should be a lock to make the NCAA Tournament.