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Gibson a perfect 10 for Trojans

Southern California's Taj Gibson dunks against Boston College in Minneapolis during the first round of the NCAA men's tournament.

Southern California's Taj Gibson dunks against Boston College in Minneapolis during the first round of the NCAA men's tournament.

MINNEAPOLIS – In southern California, good looks mean a lot.

Well, Taj Gibson was a perfect 10 for the Trojans, and way out of Boston College’s league.

Gibson had 24 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the field, sending the 10th-seeded Trojans to a 72-55 victory over Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night.

Adding six rebounds, five assists and three blocks, Gibson epitomized USC’s fast-breaking, take-it-to-the-hoop, athletic style.

“Just helping my team any way I can,” he said, “and trying not to pick up that fifth foul. I knew the offense was going to come.”

Dwight Lewis scored 20 points and shut down star Eagles guard Tyrese Rice, and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points and nine rebounds.

USC (22-12), which went 1-6 in February, maintained the momentum from last week’s Pac-10 tournament title and advanced to Sunday’s second round against Michigan State in the Midwest Region.

For Gibson, this was the ultimate team effort. That’s an attribute that seemed to have been missing at times last season, when O.J. Mayo was getting most of the attention in his only season with the Trojans before leaving for the NBA.

“We understand that it takes us, as a family, to win games,” Gibson said.

His perfect shooting was the second-best performance in NCAA tournament history with a minimum 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.

“That’s just the type of player Taj is. He’s the heart of this team,” said sixth-man Leonard Washington.

Corey Raji led No. 7 seed Boston College (22-12) with 15 points. The Eagles made only one field goal in a dreadful stretch of nearly 13 minutes that ultimately sent them back to Beantown.

“Obviously we didn’t execute as well as we needed to,” coach Al Skinner said. “We were impatient at times.”

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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