Surging Trojans Crush Lehigh 76-49
(AP) Galen Center — Jio Fontan scored 21 points and Southern California used a balanced scoring attack to beat Lehigh 76-49 on Thursday night.
The Trojans came in riding the momentum from Tuesday’s 65-64 upset of No. 19 Tennessee, their first road win of the season.
USC wasn’t challenged nearly as much against Lehigh, dictating the action from the onset.
Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Donte Smith had 13 points off the bench for USC (8-5). Alex Stepheson had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Maurice Jones added eight points.
Mackey McKnight led Lehigh (6-6) with 10 points. The Mountain Hawks, defending Patriot League champions, dropped to 0-6 against Pac-10 opponents.
Fontan hit all four of his shots from beyond the arc as the Trojans finished with nine 3-pointers.
The junior guard got hot in the second half, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and a jumper for a personal 8-0 burst that resulted in a 69-43 lead for USC.
Fontan was playing in only his third game of the season after transferring from Fordham. It was his best scoring output thus far.
Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum entered the game ranked 12th in the nation in scoring at 22.5 points per, but managed just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Trojans had built a 10-point lead in the first half before separating themselves thanks to solid defense.
The Mountain Hawks were held without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes. USC took advantage of the shooting drought with a 19-3 run, using four 3-pointers to go ahead 38-18.
Michael Ojo finally broke through for Lehigh with a 3-pointer before halftime to make it 38-21. Lehigh made just six field goals and shot 28.6 percent in the half.
This was the first meeting between the teams.
It was Lehigh’s first game in the state of California since losing at San Diego during the 1999-2000 campaign.