Facing No. 19 Texas, the commonly held belief was that the Trojans were destined for a letdown against a team with more cache, talent and supposedly a better coach. But 40 minutes later, USC (5-4) dispelled of that notion to beat the Longhorns 73-56 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series following a career-high 24 points from junior forward Nikola Vucevic.
Snapping a two-game skid to notch their biggest win of the season and likely the biggest nonconference win of any Pac-10 thus far, the Trojans also received serious contributions from Alex Stepheson (14 points and 11 rebounds), Maurice Jones (12 points) and Marcus Simmons (11 points).
Yet, despite such offensive efficiency, O’Neill was quick, as usual, to credit the team’s strong defensive play, which held the Longhorns to 32.1% while outrebounding them as well by six. Most impressively, senior forward Marcus Simmons held Jordan Hamilton to 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting. A touch break for a team that normally averages near 80 points per game.
The Trojans' next game is Dec. 11 at home against Northern Arizona.