for this game

USC hands Tennessee its third straight loss

Dec 22, 2010 - 4:44 AM Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Maurice Jones scored 15 points and recorded four steals to lead Southern California to a 65-64 victory over 19th-ranked Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Alex Stepheson had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Trojans (7-5), who have won three of their last four games.

USC nearly ended the nation's longest homecourt winning streak in Lawrence. However, the Trojans were unable to preserve a lead down the stretch, falling to top-five foe Kansas, 70-68, on Saturday. They were able to hold on this time and hand the Volunteers (7-3) their third straight loss.

Tobias Harris led Tennessee with 14 points, but missed a last-second three- pointer that could have ended the skid that comes on the heels of a victory over then-No. 3 Pittsburgh.

"Southern Cal played solid defensively and they're very strong in the interior," said Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl. "When we went to the basket, they stripped and ripped us way too often. Too many passes to the post players got deflected."

The Trojans led by as many as 10 in the second half before the Volunteers grabbed a 56-54 lead on a Cameron Tatum three-pointer with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

Donte Smith nailed an off-balanced three to put USC up 65-60 with a little over two minutes left. Scotty Hopson and Melvin Goins each made two free throws, with the latter trimming Tennessee's deficit to one with 47.2 seconds remaining.

The Vols got the ball back after Jones missed a jumper and called timeout with 3.5 seconds showing on the clock to diagram a play. Harris got a deep shot off, but it missed the mark.

"They got a good look at it at the end," said USC head coach Kevin O'Neill. "Tobias Harris had as good of a shot as you can get with 3.5 left, and we were fortunate it did not go in."

USC shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the first half and led 38-32 at the break.

Game Notes

The Trojans' Jio Fontan logged 13 points in the win...Tatum posted 12 points and seven rebounds...Hopson finished with eight points on 1-of-5 shooting and committed six of Tennessee's 18 turnovers...The Vols made 24-of-29 free throws, while USC was 6-for-9 at the foul line...The Trojans had lost six straight road games dating back to last season.