Mayo does not start as USC routs Southern IllinoisNov 26, 2007 - 7:44 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- O.J. Mayo had to make a late start. Southern Illinois would have like to not have seen the freshman at all.
Mayo scored 13 points despite being held out of the starting lineup as Southern California captured the championship of the Anaheim Classic with a 70-45 victory over the 18th-ranked Salukis on Sunday.
Fellow freshman Davon Jefferson led the way with 20 points for the Trojans (5-1), which shot a sizzling 59.5 percent (25-of-42) from the field despite facing a club well known for hardnosed defense.
Despite its first win over a quality opponent, Southern California will be left to answer a number of questions about the game, especially due to the fact that Mayo and sophomore forward Taj Gibson were not in the starting lineup.
Stating that the only reason those two players did not start was due to matchup issues, coach Tim Floyd kept the talented duo on the sidelines until the 13:36 mark, when Southern Illinois held a 9-6 lead.
"We've got a young team," Floyd said. "We have relied too much on O.J. We have some young players who we are going to have to count on."
Mayo, who finished 5-of-7 from the field en route to being named the most outstanding player of the event, connected on a jumper with his first touch of the ball before later committing a pair of turnovers. He finished six turnovers, giving him 28 for the season.
One of the top newcomers to the collegiate ranks, Mayo ended up making all three of his shots in the first half, including a 3-pointer that capped a 15-5 burst that gave the Trojans a 35-23 advantage.
Although the Salukis managed to cut that deficit to eight points in the opening moments of the second half, the Trojans made another big push.
Jefferson scored eight straight points to ignite a 21-5 run that built up a 61-37 cushion with 6:50 left.
After Matt Shaw hit a 3-pointer for Southern Illinois, Mayo answered back with one of his own, finishing 3-of-3 from the arc.
Coming off the bench, Jefferson also provided a burst in the first half, scoring six straight points for his team during the run that closed out the half.
Shooting 6-of-7 from the field and converting 8-of-11 free throws, the 6-8 Jefferson has recorded 32 points in three games after sitting out the first three recovering from a knee injury suffered in the preseason.
Sophomore guard Dwight Lewis scored 14 points and Gibson added 10 and nine rebounds for USC, which held a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint.
Daniel Hackett added 10 assists for the Trojans.
Randal Falker had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Salukis (3-1), who shot just 32.7 percent (16-of-49).
The senior forward was the only player in double figures for Southern Illinois, as the rest of the starting five mustered 21 points.
- ANAHEIM CLASSIC
NCAA BB ANAHEIM CLASSIC
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
SOUTHN ILLINOIS (18) 23 22 45
USC 35 35 70 FINAL
Nov 26 1:18 AM
- ANAHEIM CLASSIC
NCAA BB (18) SOUTHN ILLINOIS 23
USC 35 HALFTIME
Nov 26 12:12 AM
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