LOS ANGELES (AP)—There was plenty of offense to go around for Southern California in its first game since returning to the Top 25.
Dwight Lewis tied his career high with 18 points, Davon Jefferson added 17 and the 25th-ranked Trojans overwhelmed Delaware State in an 83-54 victory Monday night.
“Obviously, we didn’t play a Pac-10 team,” USC coach Tim Floyd said.
O.J. Mayo added 12 points for the Trojans, who shot 68 percent from the field—just short of the school record of 71 percent—67 percent from 3-point range and 60 percent from the free throw line.
“We did a great job of finishing in transition. We have five players who can score,” Mayo said. “We wanted to bring it on defense.”
Mayo contended with double-teams and a box-and-1 much of the game, but he passed the ball out of the defense, getting five of the Trojans’ season-high 24 assists—their most in nearly three years.
“I’m really pleased with our unselfishness,” Floyd said. “We made the extra pass.”
Roy Bright scored 22 points for Delaware State (3-6), which lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Hornets’ losing margin was less than their 39-point defeat at Arizona State nearly two weeks ago. They will get one more chance against a Pac-10 team when they play at California on Thursday.
Bright was Delaware State’s only player in double figures, bettering his 18.1-point average. The Hornets shot 38 percent from the field.
“They are physical and play well together,” Delaware State coach Greg Jackson said. “It was difficult to get into the offensive sets that we wanted to run. USC played great defense.”
USC (7-3) played for the first time in nearly two weeks. The Trojans were coming off consecutive losses to No. 3 Kansas and No. 2 Memphis, both by four points, that dropped them out of the Top 25. Their last seven opponents have been held to 62 points or less, tying a similar seven-game stretch during the 1986-87 season.
“This was a good game for us,” Lewis said. “Every game we play we try to make a statement.”
The Trojans dominated the Hornets in every way. The starting lineup of Jefferson, Lewis, Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett and Mayo shot 71 percent for the game.
USC raced to a 31-13 lead, its largest of the first half, while playing strong defense. The Hornets recovered slightly and outscored USC 11-8, with Bright getting five points, to end the half trailing 39-24.
The Trojans were even better in the final 20 minutes.
They outscored the Hornets 33-12 to open the half, including two 12-0 spurts. Jefferson dominated the early part of the run with eight points, then Angelo Johnson came in and made three 3-pointers before Mayo closed it out with a basket. Johnson finished with 11 points.
“It was pretty fun,” Jefferson said. “We were getting great looks and players were knocking it down like they’re supposed to.”