Missouri uses late run to top USC in Puerto RicoNov 23, 2008 - 11:00 PM SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Ticker) -- J.T. Tiller made sure that Missouri left the Caribbean on a good note.
Tiller scored five of his 14 points in a decisive second-half run as Missouri posted an 83-72 victory over No. 20 Southern California in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday.
DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Tigers (4-1), who wrapped up a fourth-place finish.
"I thought we had a great all-around effort today and DeMarre sure made a lot of plays to keep us going against a good USC team," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "I think our bench played excellent and really allowed us to impose our style late in the game, during some crucial minutes."
Missouri ended the tournament with two straight wins after losing to Xavier, 75-71, in the opener on Friday. It will have a week off before facing Oral Roberts on November 30.
Holding a 68-67 edge after USC's Donte Smith completed a three-point play with 5:28 remaining, the Tigers took control with a 12-2 run. Tiller had five points during the burst, including a three-point play that made it 80-69 with 2:33 left.
Tiller had a solid effort from the field, making all three of his 3-point attempts and converting 3-of-3 free throws.
The Trojans started fast, taking a 20-13 lead midway through the first half behind a 9-2 run. Dwight Lewis scored four points during the spurt, and hit 3-pointer with 6:28 left to make it 31-23.
Yet, Carroll kept USC from getting up by more, scoring seven of his 13 first-half points in the closing 4:23 to help Missouri trail, 43-37, at intermission.
The Trojans went back up by double digits in the early moments of the second half, as Lewis hit a 3-pointer and a layup to make it 48-37 with just 52 seconds expired.
The Tigers made a push seven minutes later, putting together a 14-4 run that knotted the score at 55-55 with 12:11 left. Carroll hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points during that span.
Leo Lyons, who added four points during the run, finished with 13 points for the Tigers, who shot 49 percent (31-of-63) from the field with seven 3-pointers.
Carroll finished 11-of-17 from the field, including 3-of-3 from the arc, and grabbed five boards on the offensive end to help Missouri top USC in rebounds, 33-29, over the final 34 minutes. The Tigers actually trailed the Trojans, 10-1, on the boards early in the game.
"That was certainly a big factor in the ball game," Anderson said. "They are a great rebounding team. They were physical early on, but when you have such a young team you have to withstand some of those early blows and find you comfort level. We were able to withstand them early and played well in the second half."
Lewis scored 15 points for the Trojans (3-2), who absorbed a pair of losses to unranked teams en route to finishing in sixth place.
The poor finish will probably knock USC out of the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll when it is released on Monday.
Taj Gibson, who had double-doubles in each of the previous two games of the tournament for the Trojans, ended up with 11 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the closing minutes.
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
AT SAN JUAN PR
NCAA BB PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MISSOURI 37 46 83
USC (20) 43 29 72 FINAL
Nov 23 3:03 PM
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
AT SAN JUAN PR
NCAA BB MISSOURI 37
(20) USC 43 HALFTIME
Nov 23 1:51 PM
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