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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Askia Booker took the game over at its most critical moment just like he had done so many times before down the road at his high school gym.
Booker scored a career-high 43 points to lead Colorado to a 98-94 win against Southern California in triple overtime on Thursday.
Booker, a Los Angeles product from nearby Price High, scored eight points in the third overtime, including a jumper to put the Buffaloes (11-9, 4-4 Pac-12) ahead for good to win their first road game in seven tries this season. Booker made another long jumper for a 95-92 lead and two free throws with 13.4 seconds left in front of friends and family.
"Mom, dad, brothers, cousins, schoolteachers, friends from the neighborhood," said Booker, who is 6-0 against USC in his career. "Maybe 30-40 people (were here) . it's great to have a game like this in my hometown, but I've got to give credit to my teammates."
Fellow local player Xavier Johnson returned after a four-game absence because of an ankle injury and had 12 points and five rebounds before he fouled out with 2:31 in the second overtime.
Katin Reinhardt had career-highs of 35 points and nine 3-pointers and Nikola Jovanovic scored a career-high 30 points, but the Trojans (9-11, 1-7) lost their fifth straight. Jordan McLaughlin had 11 points and seven assists.
"We lost, so 35 points didn't matter," said Reinhardt, who tied Anthony Pendleton for the school's single-game record for 3-pointers made. "I feel terrible. I feel I let the team down when I fouled out (in the third overtime). We have to grind it out, get better, learn from it and learn how to finish."
Booker scored on a drive to tie it at 83 and force a third overtime. Reinhardt opened the second overtime with a 3-pointer and made another to give USC an 81-76 lead, but Booker scored Colorado's next seven points.
Booker tied Cliff Meeley's 1971 mark for the fifth-highest point total in school history. Where does this game rank in Booker's career?
"Probably his best," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "On the road, especially doing it in L.A. where he's from. He went to high school — you could drive a wedge from here right down the street (to it). This place means a lot to him, to come home and play like that."
Colorado blew an 11-point lead with eight minutes left in regulation. It did not make a field goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation through the first 4:30 of the first overtime, going 0 for 7 until Johnson made a 3-pointer to tie it 73-all. McLaughlin missed on a drive to end the first overtime.
Colorado: Askia Booker tied Will Smith and Stephane Pelle for fifth on the school's all-time games played list at 123. Forward Josh Scott did not make the trip because of a back injury that has kept him out of seven of the past eight games. Guard Jaron Hopkins sat out with an ankle injury and is day-to-day, a team official said. Colorado has won seven straight in the series.
USC: The Trojans are a combined 0-6 on Thursday and Saturday games. USC is 9-2 when leading with five minutes remaining and 0-9 when trailing.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I shouldn't say this, but I think I'd feel the same way if we lost, because we showed grit," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "We showed determination and made free throws when we had to."
Katin Reinhardt fouled out with 3:41 remaining in the third overtime.
"He was a dagger on us all night," Boyle said. "Him fouling out was big, mentally for us and mentally deflating for them."
Colorado visits UCLA on Saturday
USC hosts No. 11 Utah on Sunday
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