Taj Gibson continued to provide the kind of imposing interior presence USC sorely lacked last season by recording his Pacific 10 Conference-leading fifth double-double during the Trojans' 70-58 victory Sunday over Charleston Southern at the Galen Center.
The freshman forward had 18 points and 10 rebounds and keyed a 17-0 run by USC to open the second half with consecutive baskets in the paint.
"He's been a consistent rebounder and is giving us someone we can throw it to inside, which we didn't have a year ago," Coach Tim Floyd said. "He's helped our basketball team."
Gibson has scored in double figures in nine of 10 games.
"It feels great," Gibson said. "I'm taking every little bit of it in and loving it right now."
Lodrick Stewart had more going for him than a new haircut with "USC #3" shaved into the side of his head.
The senior guard recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also made two three-pointers to move past Harold Miner and into third place on the school's all-time list with 178. Desmon Farmer is second with 203 three-pointers.
Junior guard Gabe Pruitt, who is expected to return from academic ineligibility Friday when the Trojans play Kansas State in Las Vegas, was sick and did not attend the game. Freshman forward Kyle Austin did not play, also because of illness, Floyd said. "I think they made me sick as well," Floyd said after pausing to cough.... Junior swingman Nick Young took four painkillers and wore a wrap on his sore right calf. His 17 points left him two shy of 1,000 for his career.
UP NEXT FOR USC
Tuesday vs. Longwood, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m. -- Senior swingman Maurice Sumter was averaging 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds for Longwood before the Lancers' 79-60 loss to New Mexico on Sunday night. Longwood (3-9) will be USC's second opponent in the Las Vegas Classic before the Trojans travel to Las Vegas to play Kansas State on Friday and either Wichita State or New Mexico on Saturday.