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USC basketball: With Derrick Williams mostly on the bench, Wildcats lead Trojans at halftime, 40-31

January 29, 2011 |  5:37 pm

Usc-arizona2_300 Arizona didn't need star forward Derrick Williams on the floor much in the first half against USC on Saturday night.

He is banged up, nursing an injury to his right pinkie, which is all wrapped up, so he's riding the bench, having scored three points in eight minutes. 

But even with limited minutes from Williams, a potential player-of-the-year candidate and former USC signee, the Wildcats haven't felt his absence and lead the Trojans at halftime, 40-31. 

Arizona guards Kyle Fogg and Lamont "MoMo" Jones, also a former USC signee, have more than picked up the slack. They made their first seven shots combined. Fogg has eight points, shooting four for five, and Jones has made all four of his shots. He has 10 points. 

But really, the Wildcats haven't missed many shots, hitting 15 of 25 (60%). 

USC has shot pretty well, too, making 14 of 28 (50%).

Yet areas that have hurt USC are free throws and three-point shots.  

USC junior forward Nikola Vucevic air-balled his first free throw of the game, which kind of set the tone for the Trojans, who made just two of eight attempts from there.

And from deep, USC has missed six of seven.  

The Trojans trailed Arizona early, 16-7, but responded with a 9-2 run. 

Arizona countered with a 12-2 run, which was capped by a three-point play by Arizona forward Jamelle Horne with 5:48 left. 

Senior guard Donte Smith leads USC with seven points, and freshman forward Garrett Jackson and senior guard Marcus Simmons each have six points.

What could be trouble for USC is the foul situation: Vucevic, junior guard Jio Fontan and senior forward Alex Stepheson each have two.

-- Baxter Holmes in Tucson, Ariz.

Photo: Arizona guard Lamont Jones tries to drive past USC guard Maurice Jones on Saturday evening at McKale Center. Credit: Wily Low / Associated Press