USC Falls to Texas, 69-50
Dec. 3, 2009
AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Damion James scored 19 points and No. 2 Texas defended its highest ranking in school history with a 69-50 victory over Southern California on Thursday night.
Dexter Pittman scored 13 points for the Longhorns (6-0) and his seven blocks were one short of the school record.
Nikola Vucevic scored 18 points for USC, but fouled out with 5 minutes to play. The Trojans (2-3) have lost six straight away from home dating to last season.
It was the first meeting between the Trojans and Longhorns since USC beat Texas in the second round of the 2007 NCAA tournament, former Longhorn Kevin Durant's last college game.
The Longhorns reached No. 2 in the AP poll this week, tying the program's highest ranking, last reached in December 2005.
Texas held USC to 30 percent shooting but was just 2 of 11 on 3-pointers and 19 of 34 from the free throw line.
James had 15 points and six rebounds in the first half as the Longhorns took a 33-27 lead.
The Trojans led 23-19 before Texas closed the first half with a 14-4 run. A steal by Avery Bradley led to a fastbreak dunk by James, who was fouled and made the free throw for a 31-25 lead.
Vucevic scored 10 points in the half and USC limited Pittman to five shots. But Pittman was a force on defense, tying his career high with five blocks in the first half.
Pittman opened the second half with his sixth, this time on Vucevic and USC started running into foul trouble. Starting forward Marcus Johnson picked up his fourth less than 4 minutes into the second half.
Texas led by 10 when James tumbled hard and got up grimacing and holding his left elbow. He went to the bench with 15:30 left and stayed there for nearly 3 minutes.
Without him, Texas went scoreless and missed six consecutive free throws. But USC couldn't close the gap and Texas led 44-34 when James returned.
USC cut the lead to four before James and J'Covan Brown made three free throws and Brown hit a 3-pointer with 8:05 to play, Texas' first of the game. Brown finished with 11 points
Texas led 60-47 when Vucevic fouled out when he leaned into Justin Mason and threw an elbow.