Nov. 22, 2007
(Anaheim, CA) - The USD Toreros, playing their third tough game in six days, fell to the USC Trojans 60-50 in their first game at the inaugural Anaheim Classic. The Toreros, despite 22 turnovers and a tough night shooting, had a legitimate chance late in this game. USD (2-3) will now face South Alabama on Friday in the 7 pm game that will be televised on ESPNU. Junior guard Brandon Johnson was the lone Torero to reach double figures with 19 points. USC got 20 points from O.J. Mayo, and 20 points/12 rebounds from Taj Gibson.
"We came into the game knowing they had a ton of talent," said USD coach Bill Grier. "I think everyone focuses on Mayo, and he deserves all the accolades he gets, but there are other people. Gibson is great defensively and Hackett really makes them go. I thought we had an opportunity, we played hard. We didn't capitalize on opportunities. We need to set more screens and not break too much from the plan. I felt we played well in the first half, we just couldn't stick with it. Individually we can't take on the world, but as a team we can play well."
The Toreros used a solid defensive effort to stay in the game throughout. In the first half USD found itself down 27-23 at intermission with Brandon Johnson leading the way with 13 points. Despite just shooting 9-27 from the floor and 1-8 beyond the arc, USD outrebounded the Trojans in the first 20 minutes of action, 17-15. USC's Gibson had 12 points at halftime.
In the 2nd half the Trojans extended their lead to 10 points at 47-37 with 5:39 to go. A basket and three-pointer from De'Jon Jackson pulled USD to within 47-42, and they would get as close as 4 points at 51-47 with 2:10 to go on a three-pointer from Ray Murdock. With 1:17 to go, Murdock's three-point attempt rimmed out that would of made it 51-50. From there USC's Mayo scored a bucket, made one of two free throws and after a steal slammed home a dunk to put USC up 56-47 with 21 ticks left. USD's Johnson nailed a threy with 14 seconds left, but USC would make 4 free throws in the closing seconds to improve to 3-1. The Trojans will take on Miami-Ohio in the 9:30 p.m. game.
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