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Game 23 Open Thread: Oregon St. at USC

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Jared Cunningham (1) had a career high 24 points in the season's first meeting between Oregon St. and USC, an 80-76 win for the Beavers over the Trojans.

<em>(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)</em>
Jared Cunningham (1) had a career high 24 points in the season's first meeting between Oregon St. and USC, an 80-76 win for the Beavers over the Trojans. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. (9-13, 4-7) vs. USC (12-11, 4-6) - 8 PM - Galen Center - FSN

Both teams come into the game, nationally televised by FSN, off losses. The Beavers dropped a 61-55 decision to visiting Washington St. Saturday, despite a double double by Devon Collier, and the Oregon St. defense holding the Cougars' Klay Thompson to 6 points. Collier's 16 points and 10 rebounds were both career highs. The loss was the seventh defeat the Beavers have suffered in their last nine contests.

The Trojans have had over a week to stew about their 64-50 loss across town at Pauley Pavillion last Wednesday to UCLA. The Bruins dropped USC in a hole early, and after the Trojans rallied, UCLA pulled away again.

Nikola Vucevik led everyone in the cross-city battle, with 18 points, and also grabbed 7 rebounds, while Alex Stepheson had 14 points and 8 boards. The rest of the Trojans provided only limited support, though, and as a result, USC lost their second straight game, and fifth of their last seven.

One of Oregon St.'s two wins since the day after New Years' was back on January 15th. when the Beavers defeated the Trojans 80-76 at Gill Coliseum. Jared Cunningham had a career high 24 points, as Oregon St. built a 16 point lead 4 minutes into the second half, and worked the clock the rest of the way.

Since that strong offensive outing, the Beavers' problem has mostly been a substantial drop off in point production. Oregon St. has only topped 60 points once, in last Thursday's 68-56 win over Washington.

Collier and Cunningham have been the constants in the lineup, but Ahmad Starks moved into the starting lineup last weekend, much for his defensive skills.

The Trojans are eighth, and the Beavers ninth, in the Pac-10 standings, making this a surprising choice for the late game in a FSN Pac-10 double header, following the California-Washington game, given that Oregon's game at second place UCLA will be generally unavailable, shown only on Comcast.

It does afford the opportunity to take a look to see which struggling team takes advantage of the opportunity to grab what could be a rare win going down the stretch. Join in with your analysis and insights.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com