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USC FYI

Dwight Lewis gets Trojans started

He scores eight of USC's first 10 points in the victory over Boston College.

March 21, 2009|Chris Foster

MINNEAPOLIS — Dwight Lewis took a pass in the corner, just as he did as time ran out against Arizona State in the Pacific 10 Conference tournament title game. He made a three-point basket, just as he did in that night, to get USC on the scoreboard against Boston College on Friday.

Those are usually good omens for USC. Against Arizona State, it was a key basket in a rally in the final minutes. Against the Eagles, it was an initial lift.

"They've got to pay more attention to him when he does that," guard Daniel Hackett said. "Dwight got it going, and that makes our team that much better."

Lewis, who had made only 28 of his last 93 shots entering the game, scored eight of USC's first 10 points in the 72-55 victory over Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tournament. He finished with 20 points.

"That builds momentum when guys hit big shots like he did tonight," forward Taj Gibson said.

Pacific 10 tough

Hackett said he had heard that Boston College players thought the Trojans were lacking toughness.

"I thing that fired Taj up," Hackett said.

Gibson, who had 24 points, said any thought that the Pac-10 breeds soft teams is a misconception.

"I go against some of the best big men in the nation," Gibson said. "I'm playing against [Arizona's] Jordan Hill, and [Arizona State's] Jeff Pendergraph. Those guys are no slouches, they are big and physical."

Pac 10 tough II

Conference teams went 5-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, validating what USC Coach Tim Floyd has been saying for weeks, back when he was lobbying in case his team needed an at-large bid.

"This league, we have been trying to tell people, it's very difficult, because 80% of the teams are capable of playing in this tournament," Floyd said. "You can't say that about all of these other leagues that they are talking about."

Etc.

Gibson's 10 for 10 from the field was the second-best performance in NCAA tournament history with a minimum of 10 attempts, behind Kenny Walker's 11 for 11 for Kentucky in 1986. Gibson matched Marvin Barnes of Providence and Christian Laettner of Duke, who were 10 for 10 in 1973 and 1992, respectively. . . . USC held Boston College to only six field goals and 23.1% shooting in the second half.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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