Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 11 points, the only Beaver in double figures. Ahmad Starks and Calvin Haynes followed him, both with 9 points.
The Beavers got of to a great start, using feisty 1-3-1 and 2-3 defenses to take an early 11-6 lead, prompting a 30 second USC timeout. Those 30 seconds proved to be the difference in the game, as the Trojans went on a 12-0 run and never looked back. Oregon State did pull within three at 20-17, but as Beaver fans have witnessed too many times this season, they could not capitalize on any opportunities to take the lead. The Trojans closed the half on a 17-6 run to take a 37-23 lead into the locker rooms.
11 of 13 Beaver players got into the game, not counting Rhys Murphy and Eric Moreland, who are out for the year with injuries. Cunningham, Joe Burton, Starks, Angus Brandt, and Devon Collier got the start for the Beavers. Collier contributed eight points, continuing a streak of solid games for the freshman out of the Bronx.
Omari Johnson added seven points, with many blown opportunities around the rim. And following Johnson was Kevin McShane, who had four points, one block, and one rebound.
For the Trojans, Nikola Vucevic led the way minutes-wise with 38. Vucevic led USC with 17 points, followed by Donte Smith with 13. The Trojans came into this game with a record of 12-11, 4-6 in the Pac-10.
Roberto Nelson Watch
Nelson had another sub-par performance, only playing 12 minutes and recording 0 points and rebounds. He did appear on the stat sheat with a steal and an assist. Roberto went 0 for 2 from the field, and his only three point attempt was blocked.
The Beavers led the Trojans in most statistical categories, except for points off turnovers, where USC outscored Oregon State 28-10, a rarity in Beaver games.
Trailing by fourteen at Halftime, the Beavers knew that they would have to make a move quickly if they wanted to compete in this one. But instead of making runs, the two teams traded baskets and Oregon State finally cut the USC lead to eight with 13 minutes remaining.
The Beavers were able to cut the lead to 44-39 after a flurry of steals and points, but that would be the closest Oregon State got for the remainder of the game. USC settled down and used a 10-4 run to get the lead back to 11, and even though there were still seven minutes left, the run took the wind out of the Beavers' sails.
Oregon State pulled within seven twice more down the stretch, but after narrowly stealing the ball twice but never being able to control it, Maurice Jones hit a three pointer in the corner as the shot clock wound down to put the dagger in the Beavers. On the next trip down the court, Devon Collier put home two consecutive free throws, a rarity for the enitre Oregon State roster, especially him.
The Beavers still refused to quit, and after Donte Smith knocked down a pair of free throws, Oregon State still had a chance to cut the lead to seven. But Ahmad Starks turned the ball over, a sight seen to many times on Thursday night, and the Trojans knocked down the rest of their free throws to put the game away.
With the loss, the Beavers dropped to 9-14 (4-8) and USC improved to 13-11 (5-6).
As far as the crowd goes, the 3,855 people at the Galen Center were not very loud or intimidating, which will be a polar oppositte to what the Beavers will see on Saturday when they visit the Den at Pauley Pavilion. There were a fair number of Orange and Black fans in attendance, most of which were there to see Calvin Haynes and Omari Johnson.
Next up for the Beavers is UCLA, Saturday at 1:00 PM in Los Angeles. The game will be televised by FSN.
UCLA defeated Oregon 64-54 tonight at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon (12-12, 5-7 in the Pac-10) led the Bruins (17-7, 8-3) by three points at Halftime, but UCLA outscored the Ducks by 13 in the second half to hold onto second place in the Pac-10.