South Carolina Downs USC In OT, 80-74

Nov. 17, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Tre Kelley scored 11 of his 26 points in overtime and Blake Sheldon added a career-high 22 points, helping South Carolina defeat Southern California 80-74 Thursday and spoil the Trojans' season opener in their new on-campus arena.

It was an emotional night as the Trojans honored the memory of point guard Ryan Francis, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in May during a visit to his home state of Louisiana. Players wore a black patch with his No. 12 on their jerseys.

After playing in the Los Angeles Sports Arena since 1959, the Trojans' move to the 10,258-seat Galen Center filled about 60 percent of the seats for the first men's game, although the student section was jammed with fans wearing white T-shirts reading 'Trojans 12 We Remember' on the front and Francis' number and nickname Franchise on the back.

With Paulette Francis looking on after a halftime tribute to her son, the game went into overtime tied at 62.

USC freshman Taj Gibson missed a jumper down low in the closing seconds of regulation. South Carolina got the rebound and Brandis Raley-Ross drove to the basket, tossing up a one-handed layup that missed as time expired.

The Gamecocks (2-1) got 17 points from Raley-Ross, including a dunk that forced overtime.

Gibson led four USC players in double figures with 16 before fouling out of his college debut. Nick Young added 15, freshman Daniel Hackett had 13 and Lodrick Stewart 11.

South Carolina dominated the five-minute overtime, taking a 72-65 lead on a 3-pointer and driving layin by Kelley.

Stewart's 3-pointer cut USC's deficit to 74-70 with 1:20 left, but the Trojans were forced to foul and South Carolina hit its free throws down the stretch.

The Trojans held themselves together after spending halftime on the court for the tribute to Francis, while the Gamecocks retreated to their locker room.

Trailing 34-31, South Carolina scored four in a row to open the second half. USC went on an 11-5 run to regain a 45-40 lead. The game went back and forth the rest of the way, with neither team leading by more than five points.

Last season, the Trojans lost their season opener to Cal State Northridge in overtime.

USC's only other meeting with South Carolina also went to overtime, with the Gamecocks winning that one in Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 22, 1977.

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