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USC basketball: Trojans up big on Stanford at halftime, 37-22

January 20, 2011 |  8:27 pm

USC is torching the nets, Stanford is laying bricks.

And the first half between them has been one entire run...by the Trojans, who lead 37-22 Thursday night at the Galen Center and were up at one point by 20 points.

The Trojans shot a blistering 53.6% (15 for 28) in the first half, while Stanford couldn't find water from the beach, missing 24 of 32 shots (25%).

USC's defense is playing well, and in spurts has played very well, but Stanford is also just playing terribly.  

The Trojans essentially have a seven-man rotation now that freshman guard Bryce Jones will be transferring, which he decided Monday, and all seven players have scored. Junior forward Nikola Vucevic leads USC with 10.

By the 8:47 mark, USC led, 18-5, following a two-handed slam by Vucevic that capped a 10-0 run. Stanford promptly called a timeout, likely to figure out why it had missed 14 of its first 16 shots.

Meantime, the pro-Trojans Galen Center crowd applauded the Trojans as they walked to their huddle, finally playing the defense they showed glimpses of in impressive wins over Texas and Tennessee. 

Post-timeout, USC's barrage continued.

Stanford finally hit a shot, but then USC's Marcus Simmons and Maurice Jones hit consecutive three-point jumpers to give USC a 24-8 lead with 6:59 left. Stanford's Anthony Brown scored with 6:57 left, finally breaking the double-digit barrier for the Cardinal. 

USC's lead reached 20 when Vucevic hit a turnaround jumper from about 15 feet with 3:18 left. 

Stanford closed the half on a 9-4 run, which probably has USC Coach Kevin O'Neill fuming in the locker room. That, and his team committed seven first-half turnovers. 

But aside from that, USC has played pretty well, out-rebounding Stanford 23-14. USC junior guard Jio Fontan has seven points, senior forward Alex Stepheson has six. 

Oh, there was one slightly awkward moment regarding the recently announced-to-be-transferred Jones. 

The freshman guard was still included in USC's pre-game video that showed on its center-hung scoreboard. 

--Baxter Holmes

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