USC Vs. Northern Arizona: Trojans Avoid Letdown

USC recorded its second consecutive win.

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USC Vs. Northern Arizona: Trojans Avoid Letdown

Led by Donte Smith, who finished with a career-high 22 points, USC avoided a letdown against unranked Northern Arizona, notching a 60-52 win over the visiting Lumberjacks Saturday.

Smith, along with junior forward Nikola Vucevic, finished with a combined 33 points, to give the Trojans (6-4) their second consecutive win, the team’s third two-game winning streak of the year.

The victory, however, snapped NAU’s seven-game winning streak, the program’s longest since the 2005-2006 season.

Despite a 12-point lead at halftime, the second half tilted in favor of Northern Arizona, which utilized a zone defense and opened the half on a 16-7 that cut the Trojans’ lead to 38-35 with 9:27 remaining in the final period.

But at that moment, Smith caught fire, scoring 14 points to extend USC’s lead to 54-40 with 5 1/2 minutes to play. His five three-pointer in the game were a career-high.

USC’s next game is Dec. 18 against Kansas in Lawrence, where the Jayhawks currently hold a 64-game home winning streak.

For more USC hoops news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Vs. Northern Arizona: Trojans Look To Build On Home Success

The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks will try to pick up their most noticeable win of the season, as they tangle with the USC Trojans today in non-conference action at the Galen Center. Since losing their first two games of the season, the Lumberjacks have ripped off seven consecutive victories, though none have come against major competition. The team was most recently in action on Thursday, when it tallied a 68-55 victory over visiting Texas-Pan American. NAU now heads away from home, hoping to notch its fourth consecutive victory on the road.

As for USC, it picked up a signature win in its most recent outing, knocking off then No.19 Texas, 73-56, at the Galen Center last Sunday. It was a terrific performance from the Trojans, who had dropped two straight, including an 81-69 setback at TCU. USC is now 5-4 overall and that mark includes a 4-1 ledger at home. USC and NAU have met just one time previously on the hardwood, with the Trojans taking that clash, 99-72, in 1989.

The Lumberjacks put forth a strong effort on defense last game, holding Texas- Pan American to just 55 points and only 34.5 percent shooting from the floor. NAU, meanwhile, converted 24-of-32 free-throw attempts and collected any misses with a 40-28 advantage on the boards. Cameron Jones turned in a big effort in the win, as he poured in 27 points, to go with five boards and three assists. It was one of the best efforts of his career, and Jones currently paces the team in scoring at 17.6 ppg. Gabe Rogers is next in kin with 12.8 ppg and he is a three-point specialist, knocking down 51.0 percent of his 49 attempts this season. Eric Platt adds 12.5 ppg to the rotation and Shane Johannsen rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.3 ppg.

The Trojans shot a solid 48.9 percent from the floor and went 23-of-29 at the charity stripe, as they upended nationally-ranked Texas last time out. USC was also strong defensively, limiting Texas to just a 32.1 percent shooting performance from the field. Nikola Vucevic headed the charge with a 24-point, nine-rebound effort, while Alex Stepheson logged a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was another productive game for Vucevic, who is averaging a double-double on the season with team highs of 16.9 ppg and 10.7 rpg. Maurice Jones follows at 12.6 ppg and he runs the offense behind 4.2 apg, while Bryce Jones contributes 12.0 ppg. (Sports Network)

For more USC hoops news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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