If the USC men’s basketball team’s first test of the season was Sunday’s game against Nebraska, then the players and coaches probably were not content with their grade.
The Trojans struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the game and missed altogether when senior forward Marcus Johnson airballed a 3-pointer as time expired in USC’s 51-48 loss at the Galen Center.
Nebraska guard Eshaunte Jones gave the Cornhuskers the final edge in the tightly contested game when the redshirt freshman’s 3-pointer broke the tie with 11.7 seconds left.
The Trojans (2-2) led late but saw Nebraska cut the deficit, courtesy of senior guard Ryan Anderson, who had 14 points.
Redshirt junior forward Alex Stepheson led USC with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Dwight Lewis had 10 points, but only shot 2-of-9 from the field.
Despite holding a 38-27 rebounding advantage over the Huskers, the Trojans were haunted by poor shooting and turnovers. USC only made 38.5 percent of its shots from the field and gave the ball away 17 times.
The Trojans also struggled at the line, converting just 13 of their 24 free-throw attempts.
Sunday’s loss marked the end of USC’s four-game homestand to start the season. The Trojans will hit the road next to face No. 2 Texas on Thursday and No. 23 Georgia Tech on Saturday.