Trojans Cruise Past UC Riverside In Season Opener

Nov 23, 2002

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - Errick Craven scored 22 points and Southern Californianever trailed on its way to beating UC Riverside 81-67 Friday night in theseason opener for both teams.

The Trojans used a 27-10 run early in the game to open a double-digit leadthey never relinquished against the Highlanders, who were 8-18 playing inDivision I for the first time last season.

Freshman Nate Carter led Riverside with 23 points and John Galbreath added13.

Craven entered the game near the end of the spurt and immediately capped itwith four consecutive points for a 31-14 lead. He scored another four points tohelp USC lead 40-22 at halftime.

Riverside struggled to start the game, losing the ball on turnovers in itsfirst three possessions and not getting a field goal over the final 8:29 of thehalf. The Highlanders shot 24 percent in the first half.

The Highlanders got no closer than 12 points in the second half. Theyoutscored USC 13-7 to start the half, when the Trojans committed severalturnovers and shot poorly. Carter had seven points in the spurt that cutRiverside's deficit to 47-35 with 12:20 remaining.

But Errick Craven got the Trojans going again. He had a three-point play anda spectacular one-handed dunk that ignited the crowd. He and Nick Curtiscombined to score 11 consecutive points as the Trojans increased their lead to58-41.

The Highlanders committed 23 turnovers to USC's 16.

The Trojans are coming off consecutive 20-win seasons and a berth in theNCAA tournament.

The Highlanders were picked to finish last in the Big West in a preseasonvote of media and conference coaches. Because of their move to Division I, theyaren't eligible for the Big West tournament.

USC was without high-jumping Jerry Dupree, who is serving a six-gamesuspension to start the season.

Despite being just 60 miles apart, the schools were meeting for the firsttime.

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