USC bounces back, tops ChattanoogaNov 22, 2008 - 7:26 AM SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Ticker) -- Southern California rebounded from a disappointing loss in its first-round game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic with a 73-46 triumph over Chattanooga on Friday.
The 20th-ranked Trojans, who were knocked off, 63-61, by Seton Hall on Thursday, made sure to avoid back-to-back upsets with a well-balanced scoring attack against the Mocs.
Taj Gibson collected 17 points and 15 rebounds and Dwight Lewis scored 16 for USC. The Trojans will face Missouri in the fourth-place game Sunday.
Friday's contest opened much like Thursday night's tilt for the Trojans (3-1) as they began the game with a 16-6 run. Daniel Hackett scored nine of his 10 points in the opening half as USC took a double-digit lead into the break for the second straight game, this time leading, 39-29.
Nicchaeus Doaks scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half for the Mocs. The senior forward also registered 15 rebounds and three assists for the game while Stephen McDowell added 10 points.
After being torched for a 21-9 run at the start of the second 20 minutes against the Pirates, the Trojans used a 17-6 burst following the break to put away the upset-minded Mocs (0-4).
Despite shooting just 33 percent (11-of-33) in the second half, USC used a stifling defense after halftime to advance, holding the Mocs to just three field goals and 17 points. Gibson finished with five blocks.
Chattanooga has faced three ranked opponents so far this season, losing by an average of 26 points per game.
Leonard Washington scored nine and grabbed 12 rebounds for USC, which held a 53-29 edge on the boards.
Hackett had nine assists for the Trojans, who finished with 19 helpers on 26 field goals.
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
NCAA BB PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
CHATTANOOGA 29 17 46
USC (20) 39 34 73 FINAL
Nov 21 7:01 PM
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
NCAA BB CHATTANOOGA 29
(20) USC 39 HALFTIME
Nov 21 5:50 PM
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