Southern Cal 73, No. 19 Texas 56
LOS ANGELES -- Nikola Vucevic scored 16 of his career-high 24 points in the first half and Southern California beat No. 19 Texas 73-56 on Sunday night.
The Trojans (5-4) led the entire way in their biggest win of the season, snapping a two-game skid in front of about 25 NBA scouts. Alex Stepheson added 14 points and 11 rebounds, Maurice Jones had 12 points and Marcus Simmons 11 for USC in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series matchup.
J'Covan Brown led Texas with 17 points. Jordan Hamilton, from nearby Compton, was held to 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, well off his average of 21.7 points. The Longhorns (6-2) came in averaging 78.6 points and had outscored their opponents by an average of 17.7.
But they were clearly riled by USC's defensive pressure, with Simmons keeping Hamilton in check and the Trojans contesting shots while capitalizing on fast-break chances.
The Trojans opened the second half with a 14-3 run, including nine straight points, to build 49-30 lead. Stepheson had six points in the spurt and freshman Bryce Jones provided the biggest highlight, taking a pass from Maurice Jones and scoring on a play that began when the Trojans blocked a shot at the Longhorns' end.
Texas twice got within 10, the first time by outscoring USC 11-2 midway through the half. Two free throws by Brown again drew them to 59-49 with 5:44 to play.
But Simmons continued harassing Hamilton, and Maurice Jones scored nine of USC's final 15 points. The Trojans made 13 of their final 16 free throws.
The Trojans built their largest lead of the first half, 33-20, on three consecutive 3-pointers, including two by Vucevic. Hamilton's only basket came on a goaltending call.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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