LOS ANGELES -- After losing five of their top seven scorers from last season's team, the USC men's basketball team was expected to struggle offensively. When team leader Jio Fontan went down with a knee injury during a preseason exhibition game in Brazil, thoughts shifted to whether the Trojans would be able to score at all.
The USC Trojans (5-8) begin Pac-12 play Thursday, as they travel to Haas Pavilion to take on the California Golden Bears (10-3) at 6 p.m. PT. To say the Trojans have struggled offensively this season after losing senior guard Jio Fontan to a preseason knee injury would be an understatement.
Utilizing their usual stingy defense, the USC Trojans (4-4) held UC Riverside (2-5) to just 11 points in the second half and were able to cruise to a 56-35 victory. The 35 points were the fewest allowed by the Trojans this season, as Greg Allen (11 points, three 3-pointers) and Alexis Moore (10 points) paced them offensively.
After the USC Trojans missed shots that would have won the game at the end of regulation and the first overtime, the Nebraska Cornhuskers scored eight consecutive points in the second overtime and held on for a 64-61 win, dropping the Trojans to 1-1.
It wasn't pretty, but the USC Trojans won their season opener for the fourth consecutive season, coming away with a 66-59 victory over Cal State Northridge on Friday night. Despite holding the Matadors to 25 percent shooting from the floor, the Trojans could never take full control of the game, thanks to 19 turnovers and missing all 15 of their 3-point attempts.