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USC basketball: Trojans all over Lehigh, lead 38-21 at halftime

December 23, 2010 |  6:31 pm

USC Coach Kevin O'Neill feared his team wouldn't be ready for Lehigh on Thursday night, that the Trojans would offer up a letdown coming off a one-point upset of No. 19 Tennessee two nights earlier. 

Well, instead of a letdown, it's simply a beatdown.

The Trojans are in complete control and lead 38-21 at halftime. 

They used runs of 9-0 and 12-0 to shed any doubt that this game would be close, and the lead fattened to 20 points with 4:59 to play after consecutive three-point jumpers by guards Bryce Jones and Jio Fontan.

Lehigh went through long scoreless stretches, scoring four points in the final 8:04 until halftime, largely because of USC's defense, which has four steals and has forced eight turnovers. 

Senior guard Marcus Simmons, known as the Trojans' defensive stopper, has clamped down on Lehigh star C.J. McCollum, who came into the game averaging 22.5 points. He has one point. 

Seven players have scored for USC. Senior guard Donte Smith leads the way with nine points, making  all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. 

Overall, USC is shooting 15 for 29 (51.7%) including six of eight from three-point range. Lehigh is shooting six for 21 (28.6%) and has made only five of 12 free throws.

-- Baxter Holmes