USC Takes Down UC Irvine In Season Opener

Nov. 23, 2004

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Freshman Gabe Pruitt scored 13 points and SouthernCalifornia outscored UC Irvine 33-15 to start the second half in a 90-70season-opening victory Monday night.

Dwayne Shackleford, a junior-college transfer from Washington, D.C., ralliedthe Trojans late in the first half when they trailed by seven points. All sevenof USC's field goals over the final 12:49 of the half were 3-pointers,including three each by Errick Craven and Shackleford. His last one left themtrailing 37-36 at the break.

With Irvine starters Ross Schraeder and Greg Ethington in foul trouble, theTrojans opened the second half with a 33-15 run to take a 69-52 lead. It wastheir first lead since 6:50 of the opening half.

During USC's run, Shackleford slipped a nifty behind-the-back pass toPruitt, who scored. Later, Pruitt converted off a teammate's miss and scored ona fast-break layin.

Errick Craven also had 13 points - one of six Trojans in double figures forthe first time since the 2003 Pac-10 tournament against Oregon. Jeff McMillanadded 12 points and 12 rebounds. Shackleford added 12 points, Lodrick Stewarthad 11 and Derrick Craven 10.

The Trojans improved to 7-2 in season openers under ninth-year coach HenryBibby. They improved to 4-1 against the Anteaters, who were playing USC for thefirst time since 1997. Irvine is 9-26 all-time against Pac-10 teams.

Aaron Fitzgerald scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Anteaters (1-1),who had a 1-11 road record last season. Schraeder added 15 points.

Pruitt and freshman Nick Young were on the floor at the same time. Young's3-pointer capped the scoring for USC.