USC men's basketball: Trojans trailing Nebraska, 27-26, at halftime
Was this a good defensive effort or a sloppy shooting performance from both USC and Nebraska?
The Cornhuskers have a 27-26 halftime lead against the Trojans at the Galen Center, and USC is on pace to hold the Cornhuskers to their lowest scoring output through four games. Though averaging 78.7 points in its three home games, Nebraska scored only 55 points Nov. 18 in a loss to St. Louis.
But also consider the following statistics:
The Cornhuskers shot 44%, was scoreless for a near four-minute stretch and without a field goal for a near six-minute stretch. Nebraska freshman forward Brendan Ubel broke the spell with a jumper at the 8:05 mark, reducing USC's lead to 20-18.
Though the Trojans went five of seven from three-point range, they managed only three two-point field goals out of 13 attempts. USC didn't score from inside the perimeter until forward Alex Stepheson made a jumper to give the Trojans a 22-20 lead with 4:55 remaining. Stepheson had five points and eight rebounds off the bench, but forward Nikola Vucevic had only two points off zero-of-four shooting.
Nebraska senior guard Sek Henry entered the game averaging 11.8 points per game. He had only two points and shot one of four from the field. Ubel leads the Cornhuskers with eight points.
USC senior guard Dwight Lewis has a team-leading eight points and went two of five from the field, but was scoreless for the final 14:27 and didn't attempt a shot for the final 12:19.
The Trojans committed 10 turnovers, four of them coming from junior guard Donte Smith. Though Smith had eight points, his turnovers probably don't improve the confidence of Coach Kevin O'Neill. He has been considering Lewis and junior guard Marcus Simmons to share the point-guard duties.
Nonetheless, O'Neill indicated he expected the team to experience much more adversity in this game. Check back at latimes.com/sports for more USC hoops coverage.
-- Mark Medina