Oregon St. (10-7, 0-4) at USC (7-11, 2-3) / Galen Center / 5 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. concludes their trip to LA with a visit to the Galen Center, to take on USC.
The Trojans lost 76-74 to #21 Oregon in interim coach Bob Cantu's first game Thursday night, but they had about 4 looks at a basket in the final seconds that would possibly forced overtime. Cantu took over after Athletic Director Pat Haden fired former coach Kevin O'Neill Monday morning.
Cantu upped the tempo, and the result was the third highest point total of the season for USC, who went toe to toe with the Ducks all night. Oregon went on an 8-0 run to open a 10 point lead, the largest of the game, late in the second half, only to have USC answer with a 9-0 run of their own. But the Trojans never quite got over the hump, though there were chances to do so all night against an Oregon team that's now 15-2, and 4-0 in the Pac-12, which had them tied for second with Washington entering today's full Pac-12 schedule of 6 games.
The Trojans' 6'3" junior guard J.T. Terrell led all scorers, with 22 points, more than twice his season average of 10 points, which is second highest for USC. 6'6" senior Eric Wise, the Trojan's season scoring leader, at 12.2 points per game, added 17 against Oregon.
One big key to Oregon's win was the Ducks out-rebounding USC substantially, 38-25, and its an area Oregon St. will need to do well in as well.
Oregon St. will have Eric Moreland back, after a 3 game suspension for violating team rules (as well as Victor Robbins), and his 11+ rebounds per game should help considerably.
The Beavers took an early lead at UCLA, but suffered through multiple extended scoring droughts that saw the Bruins forge ahead by 11 points at halftime, and as much as 20 points shortly after the break. Oregon St. rallied, but couldn't get closer than 10 points, and ultimately lost by that margin, falling 74-64.
Roberto Nelson led the Beavers, with 17 points, but Joe Burton was the only other starter in double figures, with 12. Olaf Schaftenaar had his first game in double figures, with 10 points off the bench.
Oregon St. struggled with defending the 3 point shot, and UCLA was 50% from behind the arc for the game. The Bruins' talent, size, and depth were all issues for the Beavers.
Last year, Oregon St. ran away and hid from USC, completing a weekend sweep with a 78-59 win to celebrate the return to the program of former Beaver great Gary Payton. Jared Cunningham led the way, with a game high 18 points, and Devon Collier added a dozen more, while Moreland pulled down 11 rebounds. The win improved Coach Craig Robinson's record against USC to 5-2.
It will be interesting to see (if you get the Pac-12 channel), or hear, how much difference Moreland's return will make, as well as getting more of an idea of what kind of season can be expected from USC under Cantu. The Trojans could be in direct competition with the Beavers for seeding come the Pac-12 Tournament, as both have a way go climb in the Conference standings.