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USC basketball: Trojans leading Arizona State, 38-18, at halftime

February 26, 2011 |  5:35 pm

It's Senior Day at the Galen Center, and four USC men's basketball players were honored before the Trojans' game against Arizona State on Saturday.

They were forwards Alex Stepheson and James Dunleavy, and guards Marcus Simmons and Donte Smith.

And though the pregame ceremony that honored them was pleasant, the game that followed has, so far, been pretty nice, too, if you're a USC fan. 

The Trojans lead the Sun Devils, 38-18, at halftime.

You figured this might be a low-scoring game. USC leads the Pacific 10 Conference in scoring defense (62.8 points per game) and Arizona State ranks last in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (63.5). 

The Trojans trailed, 5-0, then scored six consecutive points to take the lead, which they have yet to give up.

Arizona State did not break the double-digit mark until 8:05 of the first half, when Sun Devils sophomore guard Trent Lockett made a baseline jumper. Lockett has a team-high eight points. 

USC led by double digits with 6:34 left in the first half after junior forward Nikola Vucevic made one of two free throws. The USC student section was chanting, "One more year!" when Vucevic stood at the line.

The 6-foot-10 Montenegro native, who entered the game averaging 17.4 points and a conference-best 10.3 rebounds, is considering entering the NBA draft after this season.

After Vucevic's free throw, the Trojans made three-point jumpers on three consecutive possessions, building their lead to 30-14 with 4:24 left and capping a 19-5 run.  

Smith made a three-point jumper with 23 seconds left, and with the shot clock winding down, to put USC's lead at 20. Smith has 10 points and Vucevic has a game-high 11.

The Trojans are shooting 14 for 26 (53.8%) from the field; Arizona State is shooting eight for 28 (28.6%). 

USC, which has won four of five and three in a row overall, beat Arizona State in Tempe last month, 63-61. 

-- Baxter Holmes

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