Trojans Make It Seven In A Row With Win Over Charleston Southern

Dec. 17, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Taj Gibson had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead USC to its seventh-straight home victory Sunday, a 70-58 win over Charleston Southern.

The freshman Gibson, who leads the Pac-10 in rebounding, went 7-for-10 from the field and had his fifth double-double of the season.

Nick Young scored 17 and Lodrick Stewart added 13 points and 10 rebounds for USC, which scored the first 17 points of the second half to help complete the seven-game streak, the team's longest since the 2001-2002 season.

The game was the first of the Las Vegas Classic tournament, which begins in the teams' home arenas and ends in Sin City next weekend.

The Trojans scored the last two points of a tight first half, then opened with 17 straight in the second in a stretch that featured a 3-pointer from Stewart and culminated with a steal and a layup from Abdoulaye N'diaye to put USC up 40-22.

A 3-pointer from Young gave the Trojans their first 20-point lead with 13 minutes to play, and Charleston Southern would get no closer than 12 for the rest of the game.

USC shot 69 percent from the field in the second half, after shooting just 25.9 percent in the first.

The Trojans (8-2) haven't lost at the new Galen Center since a season-opening overtime defeat to South Carolina.

The Buccaneers (5-5), who led for much of the first half, went 7:36 without scoring at the end of the first and beginning of the second half. They have lost all five of their road games this season.

Donnell Covington led Charleston Southern with 18 points and Chris Moore scored 13.

The Trojans came out flat and ugly in the first half. They opened 1-for-9 from the field and didn't score until a free throw at the 15:36 mark.

Gibson gave USC its first spark with an offensive rebound and three-point play that put the Trojans up 12-9.

The Buccaneers later took the lead back 22-21 after a pair of 3-pointers from Shelton Carter, but Daniel Hackett made a pair of free throws in the final minute to give USC a 23-22 halftime lead and begin the 19-0 run.

The Trojans went 8-for-28 from the field in the first half and missed all five of their 3-point attempts.

USC's All-Pac-10 guard Gabe Pruitt sat out his 10th game after being declared academically ineligible at the beginning of the season.

He has been practicing with the team since last week, and should be eligible to play against Kansas State in Las Vegas on Dec. 22, the same day USC's fall semester grades are posted.

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