Jones finds stroke, but USC can't finish

Trojans waste plenty of opportunities to finish off Nebraska before falling 64-61 in double overtime.

LOS ANGELES – It looked as if Maurice Jones had found his mojo at exactly the right time.

However, USC couldn't hold down guard Bo Spencer and Los Angeles native Brandon Richardson as Nebraska came away with a 64-61 double-overtime win Monday night in front of 3,412 at Galen Center.

Richardson, who played at Hawthorne High, hit a three-pointer and stole the ball from Jones on the ensuing possession as the Huskers (2-0) outscored the Trojans, 10-7, in the second extra session.

The senior, who had a large rooting section in the second deck, finished with 12 points, while Spencer added a game-high 22.

USC (1-1) had plenty of opportunities to put the game away. Forward DeWayne Dedmon missed a wide-open jumper from the free throw line as time expired in regulation, while Jones' long three went off the rim in the first overtime.

"We weren't able to finish," head coach Kevin O'Neill said. "We had our chances."

Jones, the sophomore guard and reluctant primarily ball handler after Jio Fontan tore ligaments in his knee during a trip to Brazil, overcame a sluggish start to the season to give USC a 49-45 lead with 2:42 left in the second half, scoring 14 points after the break.

Jones was 2 of 13 from the field in the opener against Cal State Northridge, and opened 1-for-8. But he found his groove, hitting a wide-open three to start a personal 8-0 run.

Jones finished with 18 points on 6 of 22 shooting.

"I'd like to be able to give Mo more help," O'Neill said, "He's going to have to be our playmaker all the time."

"When we need a basket, they're all looking at me. I got to turn back to high school and be more of a scorer," Jones said.

After leading the team with 16 points apiece in the season opener, Jones, Dedmon and Fuller were unable to get on track in the first half, combining for six points on 2-12 shooting.

Dedmon played only seven minutes in the half, picking up his first foul barely one minute into the game. His second was an unnecessary over the back that drew a stern earful from O'Neill as the inexperienced redshirt sophomore took a seat on the bench.

Dedmon finished with four points.

Fuller also had two fouls in the first half, but made his only field goal and took a charge from Richardson as he stayed on the floor to supplement the thin bench. The transfer from Iowa ended up with 13 points.

With those three ineffective, Alexis Moore provided a spark off the bench with eight points in 14 minutes. The freshman from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly knocked down a pair of three-pointers, notching 11 points in total.

After missing all 15 shots from behind the arc against CSUN, USC made 7 of 23 from long distance.


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