USC Dodges Ducks 95-86 in Overtime

Eugene - The USC Trojans (13-6, 4-3) withstood a furious late rally by the Oregon Ducks to win a thriller in overtime by the score of 95-86. The Trojans led from wire to wire until a bucket by Bryce Taylor with two seconds left, gave Oregon its first tie of the game and sent the contest into an extra session. Freshman phenom OJ Mayo opened the OT with a three and USC would not trail again.

(PHOTO) Oregon guard Malik Hairston, left, drives on Southern California guard Dwight Lewis during first half college basketball action in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Oregon never seemed to get in a good grove on the night and fell behind right off the bat prompting coach Ernie Kent to say "I felt like we were Tiger Woods grinding out a bad round of golf. We were in a fog emotionally, and to our players credit, they did a good job of putting themselves in position to get the game into overtime."

Mayo put on an impressive show in his first ever appearance at MacArthur Court, scoring 25 points while leading the Trojans with eight rebounds. Sophomore point guard Daniel Hackett led all scorers with 26 but missed some critical free throws at the end of regulation allowing Oregon (12-8, 3-5) to get back into the game.

USC had a 12 point lead, its largest of the night, at 60-48 after a basket by Dwight Lewis with 5:50 to go in the game. The game looked all but over after Mayo hit one of two from the line giving USC a 66-57 lead with only 1:39 left in the game.

However, the Ducks would rally. TaJuan Porter was fouled while shooting a three on the ensuing possession and hit all three free throws to trim the lead to six. Malik Hairston would score the next nine points for Oregon who cut the lead to 72-69 after a Hairston three pointer with 30 seconds left.

The Ducks were forced to foul and chose Hackett who hit one of two. Porter answered with a three to bring Oregon within 73-72 with 20 seconds left. Oregon again fouled Hackett who made one of two with 14 seconds left.

Trailing by two, Oregon turned to Porter who misfired with ten seconds left. However, the Ducks rebounded and Taylor scored with two seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

The overtime belonged to USC as Keith Wilkinson and Hackett followed Mayo's three with three pointers of their own to give the Trojans a nine point lead with 3:20 left in OT. Oregon never seriously threatened USC again in losing their fourth consecutive game. USC head coach Tim Floyd commented that "we're really proud of the win. That's a really tough team. It always helps when you make every shot, and that's what we did in the overtime."

The Ducks were led by Hairston who had 21 points on 7-14 from the field. Porter added 17 while Taylor chipped in with 16. Center Maarty Leunen delivered his standard double-double scoring 13 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Joevon Catron scored 15 points for the Ducks off the bench.

Mayo, Hackett, and Lewis combined to score 75 points for USC who shot 56% from the field on 28-50 shooting. The Trojans enjoyed a big advantage at the free throw line hitting 27 of 36 attempts compared to 15-17 for Oregon.

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