With redshirt sophomore center Dewayne Dedmon sidelined for the first time this season with a stress fracture in his right foot, the USC men’s basketball team needed other players to assume the scoring load.
The Trojans (4-4) spread the ball around, as all seven Trojans who received playing time scored four or more points in the 56-35 victory over UC Riverside on Wednesday at the UC Riverside Student Recreation Center — the largest margin of victory and first two-game winning streak of the season for USC.
The Highlanders (2-5) opened the game leading 10-2, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd at the Student Recreation Center who witnessed USC’s first-ever road trip to Riverside.
The Trojans closed the opening half on an 8-2 run to go into halftime leading 32-24, and then carried the momentum into the second half, scoring 21 of the first 27 points.
USC held the Highlanders to 11 points in the second half. The Trojans shot .532 from the field, compared to .351 for UC Riverside. USC shot .500 or better for the fourth consecutive game.
Junior guard Greg Allen paced the Trojans with 11 points, including three baskets from beyond the arc.
After he was held scoreless in his previous three games, freshman guard Alexis Moore had 10 points.
Sophomore forward Garrett Jackson scored eight points, all in the first half.
Freshman guard Byron Wesley added eight points, his third consecutive game with eight or more points.
Coming off a 28-point outburst in the win over South Carolina on Saturday that helped sophomore guard Maurice Jones earn the Pac-12 Player of the Week award, was held to six points, and missed all five of his three-point attempts.
Two players, senior guard Phil Martin and senior guard Kareem Nitoto, combined to score 24 of UC Riverside’s 35 total points.
The Trojans will next travel to Minnesota, their farthest road trip of the season. The Gophers (6-1) won their first six games of the season, but leading scorer and rebounder Trevor Mbakwe, a senior forward, tore his ACL on Sunday against Dayton, and is expected to miss the rest of the season. With Mbakwe out, sophomore guard Austin Hollins averages a team-high 10.3 points per game, and no other player averages more than 3.7 points per game. The game can be seen on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. on the Big Ten Network.
USC returns to Galen Center to play New Mexico on Dec. 10, beginning a stretch of four-straight home games that also includes games against Georgia and TCU, and culminates with a match-up against 15th-ranked Kansas on Dec. 22. Last year, the Trojans had possession of the ball trailing 70-68 to the Jayhawks, but guard Jio Fontan stepped out of bounds and Kansas held on for the victory.
The Trojans open Pac-12 competition on Dec. 29 at California. Dedmon, who is expected to miss four to six weeks, has said he hopes to return in time for conference games.