The USC Trojans return home tonight, playing their last game before the holidays and conference play, hosting the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Trojans (7-5) are fresh off their biggest win of the season, a 65-64 victory in Knoxville against the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers. The win not only snapped a six-game road losing streak for USC, dating back to last season, but also was the first road win against AP top 25 team by a Pac-10 conference team this season.
Tonight's game begins a four-game homestand for the Trojans, who open conference play next Wednesday against the Washington Huskies. Guard Jio Fontan has made himself at home in his first two games with USC. The junior transfer from Fordham scored 15 points at Kansas last weekend in his first game as a Trojan, a 70-68 loss for USC. Fontan then added 13 points, four assists, and three steals in Tuesday's win at Tennessee.
Lehigh (6-5) is playing its first game in the state of California since playing at the University of San Diego in the 1999-2000 season. This is the first meeting between USC and Lehigh, and the Trojans are the fifth Pac-10 opponent ever to play Lehigh. Last season, the Mountain Hawks won their second Patriot League tournament championship, and their first outright league title in school history. They have won their last two games, defeating Marist and St. Francis.
Nikola Vucevic leads USC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest. The Trojans are 7-2 when they lead at halftime this season, and 0-3 when they trail at the break. USC has outscored its opponents on average this season, 68.5 to 63.4 points per game, while Lehigh has scored 74.0 points per game and allowed 70.4 points per contest. Tonight is USC's final non-conference game of the season.
Here are tonight's probable starting lineups:
- Guard: C.J. McCollum
- Guard: Mackey McKnight
- Guard: Michael Ojo
- Forward: Holden Greiner
- Forward: Gabe Knutson
- Guard: Jio Fontan
- Guard: Maurice Jones
- Guard: Marcus Simmons
- Forward: Alex Stephenson
Forward: Nikola Vucevic
Tonight's 5:30 p.m. PST tipoff can be seen online at USCTrojans.com.
For more USC basketball news and analysis, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.