By Jordan Moore on February 12, 2012 6:33 PM
Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
Poor shooting doomed USC against the Cardinal on Sunday, as the Trojans dropped their third consecutive conference game by double digits, 59-47.
Offense was not at a premium for the Trojans on Sunday evening. Kevin O'Neill's squad shot just 31.3 percent and only two players made a field goal through the first 20 minutes of play. Despite their shooting woes, USC only trailed by two at the half but couldn't buy a bucket coming out of the locker room after halftime. The Trojans didn't make their first field goal of the second frame until the 5:33 mark. During that time, the Cardinal built a 10-point lead and never looked back. "We forced 18 turnovers and held them to around 40 percent, which should be enough to win but only if you score," O'Neill said. "I liked our effort, how hard our guys played and the fact that we made a run, but we just didn't have a second run in us in the second half. We just don't have enough depth and that's not going to change."
Freshman Byron Wesley has shown significant strides at the offensive end of late. On Sunday, he recorded double-digit points (13) for the fourth straight game and led the team in scoring along with Greg Allen. "I think Byron [Wesley] is going to be a big-time player," said O'Neill. "I love the way he is playing as a freshman. The guy fights hard."
Guard Maurice Jones (pictured above by AP Photo/Chris Carlson), the team's leading scorer, however, struggled from the field (2-for-14) all evening long. The sophomore missed his first eight shots of the contest and finished with 10 points and four assists. In his last four games, Jones is shooting just over 32 percent (16-for-49). "Maurice [Jones]' shots when he's at the point are not nearly as good as when he plays off the ball," said O'Neill. "He had a lot of wide open looks that just didn't go down. Let's face it, the guy has to be fatigued playing the amount of minutes he has all year long."
The Cardinal's win over USC was their first conference victory in Los Angeles since 2005, when they beat the Trojans at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Oddly enough, for the first time since 2005, the Trojans will return to their old digs Wednesday night as the visiting team when they take on cross-town rival UCLA.