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USC 70 - UC Riverside 57

After being down 14 points in the first half SC was all tied up with UC Riverside at the break before pulling away in the second half for a 70-57 win.

It is apparent that this team still has a long way to go.

It was shades of Mercer and Fresno Pacific in the early going when USC freshman guard Angelo Johnson drove into the lane and was called for charging. On the other end, Johnson fouled Highlanders guard Larry Cunningham on a three-point attempt that Cunningham made.

The resulting free throw gave Riverside a 26-12 lead before the Trojans closed the half on a 22-8 run.

USC sophomore forward Taj Gibson had 10 points on five-for-six shooting and freshman guard O.J. Mayo had seven points on three-for-10 shooting. The Trojans shot 53.6% to Riverside's 37.5%.

SC should be dominating these types of teams and they should not have to come from behind with these big deficits. Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett provided the glue to bring USC back in the first half while it was O.J. Mayo who sparked SC for the win, as he scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half as the Trojans pulled away.

Mayo made several spectacular plays during that stretch, including one drive where he stumbled and almost fell at the start, managed to keep control of the ball, regained his balance going down the lane and made a layup with two defenders trying to block the shot.

On another play, he threaded a pass between defenders to Keith Wilkinson under the basket for an easy layup.

So now its on to conference play as they take on Cal up in Berkley on Thursday. A bit of a slow start tonight but now the season begins.