March 12, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Taj Gibson had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Daniel Hackett made four free throws in the last 3.8 seconds, and Southern California never trailed in beating California 79-75 Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
Freshman DeMar DeRozan added 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots and Hackett had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the sixth-seeded Trojans (19-12), who earned a berth in Friday night's semifinals and greatly enhanced their NCAA tournament chances.
Jerome Randle led third-seeded California (22-10) with 18 points. Patrick Christopher added 15 points, freshman Jorge Gutierrez scored a career-high 14 before fouling out with 30.5 seconds left, and Theo Robertson added 13 for the Bears, who barely lost despite being outrebounded 53-27.
Entering the tournament, the sixth seed had a 2-11 record in first-round action and had lost six straight, but the Trojans held on after leading by as many as 18 points. USC is 6-6 in games decided by five points or less.