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USC basketball: Trojans fall in another close one, losing 44-41 to New Mexico

December 10, 2011 |  6:28 pm


USC played another close one. And again the Trojans came up on the short end. 

In its first game home in 19 days, USC fell to New Mexico, 44-41, on Saturday. 

Guard Maurice Jones, who led the Trojans in scoring with 19 points, missed a three-point shot just before the buzzer sounded. USC falls to 4-6. 

Seven of USC's 10 games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer.

New Mexico (7-2) led by as many as 11 in the second half, but USC fought back to make it a tight game down the stretch.

Jones hit a three-point shot with 4:36 left to pull the Trojans to within three. And then fellow guard Alexis Moore hit another three-point shot with 2:59 left to pull USC to within two.

After Moore helped force a Lobos turnover with 2:19 left and on their ensuing possession, Trojans center Dewayne Dedmon scored a tough layup while being fouled.

The touted red-shirt sophomore made the foul shot to give USC a 41-40 lead with 1:51 left.

New Mexico's Tony Snell knocked down a pair of free throws to put his team ahead with 1:27 left.

Dedmon fouled out with 17.9 seconds left and New Mexico's A.J Hardemann knocked down a pair of free throws with 17.9 seconds left. 

On its final possession, Jones came up short. 

Both teams shot 33% from the floor, but New Mexico made 10 more free throws and out-rebounded USC, 36-23. The Lobos were led by UCLA transfer Drew Gordon, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

USC forward Evan Smith, playing his first game in two seasons because of chronic shoulder injuries, was charged with a flagrant foul with 13:53 left. The call was made after Smith went to block a fast-break layup by New Mexico's Kendall Williams and hacked far more of Williams' body than the ball.

USC plays host to Georgia (4-5) next Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: USC center Dewayne Dedmond forces New Mexico forward A.J. Hardeman to pass after a baseline drive in the first half Saturday at the Galen Center. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press