for this game

Lewis, Gibson help Southern California rout UC Irvine

Nov 16, 2008 - 8:12 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Dwight Lewis and Southern California accomplished something that even O.J. Mayo couldn't.

Lewis scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Taj Gibson added 17 as the 21st-ranked Trojans pulled away for a 78-55 victory over UC Irvine on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Highly touted freshman DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points for USC, which had four players in double figures and won its first season opener since 2004. DeRozan is looked upon as the heir apparent to Mayo, who spent one season in Los Angeles before becoming the third overall pick of June's NBA draft.

Whether or not the Trojans will be better without Mayo is yet to be determined, but they are off to a better start. Mayo scored 32 points in his debut last season, but USC was stunned by Mercer, 96-81.

Coincidentally, the Trojans' last season-opening win came against the Anteaters.

Darren Moore scored 16 points for UC Irvine, which was competitive in the first half and trailed 35-29 at intermission. But the Trojans created some separation, going on a 19-5 run to open the second half.

Lewis' 3-pointer sparked the run, Gibson scored six straight points and Washington had a layup that made it 54-34 with 14:29 remaining. Lewis later hit two more from the arc, as the lead swelled to 23 points with 5:05 to play.

"He (Lewis) had seven rebounds and that's something he wouldn't have done a year ago," Floyd said. "He made a couple of great feeds to the post and he only took quality shots, nothing crazy."

Brett Lauer had 12 points for UC Irvine, which shot just 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the floor and fell to 1-5 all-time vs. USC.

"They're very good, very athletic," Anteater coach Pat Douglass said. "They doubled us more than we were expecting and that caused us problems."

    --- --- -----
    UC IRVINE 29 26 55
    USC (21) 35 43 78 FINAL

    Nov 15 5:36 PM

    UC IRVINE 29
    (21) USC 35 HALFTIME

    Nov 15 4:24 PM