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Mayo makes college debut when USC hosts Mercer

Nov 10, 2007 - 1:59 PM Mercer(0-0) at No. 18 USC (0-0) 4:00 pm EST

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Southern California lost its top three scorers in the offseason, but if coach Tim Floyd can do one thing well, it's recruit.

Much heralded incoming freshman O.J. Mayo will make his collegiate debut when the 18th-ranked Trojans host Mercer on Saturday.

Mayo has been on the national radar since he joined LeBron James as the only high school sophomores in Ohio history to earn the title of "Mr. Basketball." He won the award again his junior season and was named West Virginia's "Mr. Basketball" after transferring high schools before his senior season.

USC set a school record last season with 25 wins and advanced all the way to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" before falling to North Carolina.

Offseason departures will leave the Trojans with a new look as Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt moved on to the NBA and Lodrick Stewart graduated. Taj Gibson, who was a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last season, will now lead with Mayo and fellow five-star recruit Davon Jefferson.

Gibson set USC freshman records in rebounds with 321 and blocks with 69 and was named as one of 50 players in the country on the preseason Wooden Award watch list.

Mercer is looking to build on a 13-17 campaign in 2006-07. With four starters returning from last season along with a fifth player who started the first 14 games, the Bears are optimistic that this season can be better.

USC has dropped its last two home openers in overtime, losing to Cal-State Northridge in 2005-06 and South Carolina last season.

    --- --- -----
    MERCER 47 49 96
    USC (18) 30 51 81 FINAL

    Nov 10 5:57 PM

    MERCER 47
    (18) USC 30 HALFTIME

    Nov 10 4:51 PM