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Men's basketball notes: J'Vonne Hadley does it all for CU Buffs in win against USC

Jan. 14—J'Vonne Hadley endured one of his most frustrating performances of the season on Wednesday during a Colorado loss at California.

On Saturday, Hadley made certain to make amends.

The Buffs' undersized forward enjoyed a key bounce-back performance against USC, pacing the Buffs with 15 points as CU snapped a three-game losing streak with a 68-58 comeback victory at the CU Events Center.

"It's so easy to put your head down and think that things are bad," Hadley said. "We went 0-3 in Arizona (and Cal). Just coming back, we knew we had to try and turn something around. Especially in the first half, knowing that we were down, that's kind of where that fight came from as well."

Hadley recorded six points and eight rebounds in the loss at Cal, but he was a key figure in the second half defensive collapse as the primary defender on the Bears' Jaylon Tyson, who finished with 30 points. Hadley was much more active against USC, going 7-for-11 from the floor with a game-high nine rebounds.

Hadley scored 10 of his 15 points after halftime, and he helped key the run that allowed the Buffs to recapture the lead in the second half. He dished an assist to Luke O'Brien for a 3-pointer that gave CU its first lead since the opening moments, then promptly extended that lead with a drive to the bucket.

Hadley also finished with three assists and no turnovers, giving him 44 assists with 20 turnovers this season for an assist-to-turnover rate of 2.20. Hadley posted 29 assists with 25 turnovers in 22 games last year.

"Glue guy does not do him service," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He is, because he does so many little things. To me, that's the definition of what a glue guy does. They do the little things. They set screens. They play defense. They get their hands on balls. But he's become an offensive weapon for us. He's very unselfish. He makes the right play nine times out of 10 offensively. And he competes his tail off defensively."

Prince James grounded

With USC missing its starting backcourt — Boogie Ellis (hamstring) and Isaiah Collier (hand) were sidelined by injuries — freshman Bronny James received his first career start. The son of LeBron James heard it from the crowd almost every time he touched the ball, and he finished 0-for-7 with only two rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes.

It was the ninth game of the season for James overall, who missed the first eight games as he recovered from a serious heart ailment. James posted back-to-back double-digit scoring games against Oregon State and Cal but has struggled in the three games since, going a combined 0-for-14 with only two points.

Notable

CU improved to 10-0 at home for the first time since an 11-0 start at the Events Center in 2013-14. ... Buffs co-all-time leading scorer Cory Higgins attended the game and was recognized during a first half timeout. ... CU's rally from a 16-point deficit was its biggest comeback since rallying from an 18-point deficit at Washington State on Jan. 23, 2021. ... USC's Oziyah Sellers went 6-for-11 in the first half and matched a career-high with 16 points. But, while being primarily guarded by KJ Simpson, Sellers scored just two points after halftime. ... For the first time since making his season debut on Dec. 29 following his recovery from offseason knee surgery, guard Javon Ruffin did not play. ... With only nine points, Simpson's streak of double-digit scoring games ended at 23. ... CU finished with only eight turnovers, giving the Buffs a season-low for the second consecutive game after compiling 10 at Cal.