Boogie Ellis plays like a superstar on Senior Night, lifts USC to huge win

USC thanked Boogie Ellis for all he had done for Trojan basketball these past two seasons.

Then Boogie Ellis brought USC to the doorstep of another NCAA Tournament berth.

It was a beautiful night and a powerful moment for a player who proved his full value to USC basketball, and who showed just how much he has matured and grown this year.

If you follow USC basketball closely, you know and remember the story: Ellis had a bad game against Miami in last year’s NCAA Tournament. He got hurt in that game, but before his injury, he struggled in a big-stage moment. Ethan Anderson provided the more productive minutes against Miami. When Ellis was out, USC played better. Reese Dixon-Waters played big against Miami. Ellis was a non-factor.

When Boogie came back for this 2022-2023 season, it seemed like a surprise to some. USC and Andy Enfield didn’t hammer the transfer portal for a new guard. They were going to ride with Boogie, trusting that he would make significant improvements and become “The Guy” for this team, given that Isaiah Mobley was gone to the pros and Chevez Goodwin would no longer be around to give USC rebounding and defense inside.

This was the Boogie and Drew Peterson show in 2023. Given that Peterson was suffering from back spasms and freshman big man Vince Iwuchukwu couldn’t play due to back soreness against Arizona State — with USC urgently needing one more win to feel reasonably good about its NCAA Tournament chances — it was up to Boogie Ellis to carry USC over the line, or at least up to the line. Boogie scored 35 on Thursday against Arizona. Could he come back and deliver one more big game and make his Senior Night a memorable one?

We all saw the answer to that question.

Ellis scored 28 points, hitting big jumpers and making key free throws, in a 28-point performance which enabled USC to consistently stay ahead of Arizona State and ultimately defeat the Sun Devils, 68-65. The win doesn’t make USC a complete lock for the NCAA Tournament, but it does dramatically raise the odds that the Trojans will be part of the field of 68.

Kijani Wright provided 24 huge minutes for USC with Josh Morgan in foul trouble and Iwuchukwu injured. Tre White contributed 13 huge points off the bench. Kobe Johnson stayed out of foul trouble and gave USC 33 minutes of his hard-nosed defense. They all played crucial parts in this win with Peterson laboring and Iwuchukwu out. Yet, it was Boogie who rose above the moment and gave USC a max-out performance precisely when the Trojans needed it.

USC thanked Boogie on Senior Night. Boogie gave USC its biggest win of the season.

Boogie Ellis was not going to allow USC to lose in the season’s final game at the Galen Center.

More 1932 Rose Bowl!

Former Tulane coach Bernie Bierman could be the greatest CFB coach no one knows about

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire