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Missouri rallies past Trojans

USC can't maintain the lead after Cunningham injures a knee in the second half as Tigers finish with a 26-13 run.

November 24, 2008|ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — DeMarre Carroll had 29 points and 11 rebounds Sunday to help Missouri pull away for an 83-72 victory over No. 19 USC in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip Off.

J.T. Tiller scored 14 points and Leo Lyons finished with 13 for the Tigers (4-1), who shot 55% from the field in the second half while outscoring the Trojans, 46-29.

"I thought we had a great all-around effort today and DeMarre sure made a lot of plays to keep us going against a good USC team," Coach Mike Anderson said.

"Our bench played excellent and really allowed us to impose our style late in the game, during some crucial minutes."

Dwight Lewis scored 15 for USC (3-2), which shot 15 for 28 from the free-throw line.

Taj Gibson had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Daniel Hackett also had 11 points but committed eight of USC's 19 turnovers.

USC led 59-57 with 10 minutes left in the game when forward Kasey Cunningham injured his left knee and Missouri finished the game on a 26-13 roll for the victory.

Cunningham had scored a career-high 11 points and grabbed six rebounds to that point.

He will be reexamined when the team returns to Los Angeles today.

Tiller and Carroll each shot three for three from three-point range for the Tigers, who were seven for 19 from beyond the arc and shot 49% from the field for the game.

The Trojans led at halftime, 43-37, and outrebounded Missouri in the game, 39-34. Missouri's bench outscored USC's bench, 27-18.

Stepheson update

Alex Stepheson, a transfer from North Carolina whose request to the NCAA for immediate eligibility was turned down last week, said Sunday that he was disappointed by the decision and was still weighing his options regarding an appeal.

"We're going to give it a week or so and just try to figure out if it's worth appealing," said Stepheson, a 6-foot-9 junior who had cited family health issues as the reason for his transfer.

Stepheson, who will not be eligible until the 2009-10 season, spoke briefly by phone with Coach Tim Floyd when the NCAA handed down its ruling Wednesday and plans to speak with him again today.

"He said, 'Take the year to get your academics together and to work hard and get your game together and get ready for next year,' " Stepheson said.

Times staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.

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