USC basketball: Trojans and UNLV tied, 31-31, at halftime in Las Vegas
And in the first half against UNLV on Friday, Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller both carried the Trojans.
But it was some unexpected scoring from those young and inexperienced players that has USC tied with Nevada Las Vegas, 31-31, at halftime at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Jones, a sophomore guard and the team's floor leader, has eight points, and Fuller, a junior forward and an Iowa transfer, has a game-high nine points in what was mostly a back-and-forth first half.
Sophomore forward Garrett Jackson (six points) and freshman guard Byron Wesley (six points) each added some timely baskets on broken plays that have kept UNLV from pulling away.
The Rebels have been led by Oscar Bellfield and Quintrell Thomas, who each have six points.
In the first half, UNLV shot 37% (10 for 27) overall, and USC shot an impressive 56% (14 for 25).
For much of the first half, the teams exchanged leads every other basket before UNLV took a five-point lead late after a three-point field goal by guard Kendall Wallace.
USC then scored seven straight to take a 31-29 lead with 1:09 left on a layup by Wesley.
True to his word, USC Coach Kevin O'Neill started junior Greg Allen, but Allen, a three-point specialist, has been unproductive thus far, having missed both of his shots.
One area to focus on in the second half is fouls. USC has 10 team fouls, two of them on sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon, who drew them both early and played only two minutes in the opening half.
-- Baxter Holmes, from Las Vegas
Photo: USC point guard Maurice Jones is fouled by Justin Hawkins on a driving layup in the first half Friday night. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images