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Oregon State Wins Tight Battle With USC 59-55

The game was tightly contested, back and forth, and quite ugly at times, but in the end Oregon State came out on top 59-55, thanks to some big plays late in the game. The Beavers complete the sweep of the LA schools and remain undefeated in a dozen games at home.

These two guys.
These two guys.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After never being more than a 1 possession game until the under 8 minute time out, late in the first half, Jarmal Reid, below, scored 9 straight of the Beavers' points, including his first career 3-pointer, sparking an 11-2 run. The Oregon State lead extended to 11-points at 29-18.

Jarmal Reid Elijah Stewart

USC responded with a 9-0 run to close the half down 2.

After USC took a 1-point lead with a 3 to open the 2nd half, Olaf Schaftenaar made a 3 of his own, and then another on the next possession, and another on the one after that.

Olaf Schaftenaar

It was a personal 9-0 run, that gave the Beavers an 8-point lead.

"I got great passes, for wide-open threes, so all the credit for the team," Schaftenaar said. "If I get the ball open like that, it's not that hard for me to knock them down."

USC again not only ran down, but overhauled Oregon St., and responded with an 11-0 run that gave them a 41-38 lead, punctuated by Katin Reinhardt's 4th (and final) 3-pointer of the game.

Indeed, USC weathered the Beavers' storms and didn't let Oregon State separate themselves. Beaver fans could never exhale, all the way down the wire.

The game was, overall, quite uneventful. At times, the Beavers looked lost on offense, suffering another 4 1/2 minute field goal drought after having taken a 50-45 lead with 9 minutes left, and were letting USC get more easy buckets than we've become accustomed to seeing from Wayne Tinkle's defense.

USC also had its struggles, and the scoreline of 29-27 Beavers at halftime was a pretty accurate representation of the play.

Gary Payton II, of course, was the only player who scored double digits in the first half, when he scored 12 of his 21 points. Jarmal Reid had the aforementioned exciting few minutes, which also included some very poorly selected shots and questionable decisions, which were at least part of the reason USC managed to claw back into the game before half.

A big part of the Beavers' offensive struggles was that, for the second straight game, Langston Morris-Walker was a no-show in the first half. He matched his first-half point total from Thursday's matchup against UCLA by not scoring a single basket.

After the flurry of 3's to start the 2nd half, the game slowed down yet again.

Between 10:02 and 4:39 in that 2nd period, the teams combined to score a whopping 4 points.

Gary Payton II Jordan McLaughlin

With under 4 minutes left and the Beavers staked to a 1-point lead, Payton II made a mid-range jumper, above, over a jumping out Jordan McLaughlin, as the shot clock expired. The Trojans took (and missed) a quick 3 at the other end. Oregon State, as we've seen so much this year, again watched the shot clock creep down, an effort to keep the number of possessions low to keep the Beavers, who used just 7 players today, fresh. Payton II, as we've seen so much this year, made another basket as the time expired, this time a beautiful floater, giving the Beavers a 57-52 lead.

About a minute later, a pair of Darion Clark free throws pulled the Trojans to within 3. Clark played an instrumental role for USC in the 2nd half. He scored 8 points, all from the line, picked up 4 rebounds, and picked up a block.

Michael Duvivier Darion Clark

The teams traded a free throws, and Oregon State had the ball up 57-54 with about 30 seconds left. That's when Clark blocked Malcom Duvivier's drive to the basket, above, setting off what was an exciting finish to a less-than-exciting game.

Payton got the rebound off that block, one of his 10, good for a double-double, and as he was dribbling out of traffic, Wayne Tinkle called a timeout with 1 second on the shot-clock, avoiding the violation.

Jarmal Reid missed a 3 off the inbound, and Payton poked the ball from Nikola Jovanovic before he could completely secure the rebound, enabling Morris-Walker to pull it down. However, after video review, Reid's shot was ruled late, and the Trojans got the ball just behind mid-court.

USC made a few passes around the perimeter before Julian Jacobs' pass was stolen by (who else?) Payton. After being fouled, he made one of the ensuing free throws, putting the Beavers up 4 with 6 seconds left. Jordan McLaughlin missed a three at the buzzer and Oregon State finished off their 12th straight win at home, much to the relief of the crowd of 8,877, the largest at Gill in over 3 years, who turned out to see Payton Sr. honored on the 25th anniversary of his record 58 point game against these same Trojans.

Gary Payton Benny

In the end, three Beavers' ended up in double digits. Payton II's 21, Reid's 14, and Schaftenaar's 11. Duvivier added 9 to go along with 5 rebounds and assists.

Reinhardt had a team-high 17 for the Trojans, but was pretty much a non-factor down the stretch. Jovanovic added 13 and 6 assists. McLaughlin distributed the ball well, finishing with 7 assists and 9 points of his own.

Overall, USC shot 34% from the field, compared to Oregon State's 39.2%. The teams went 5-18 and 6-19 from 3-point range, respectively.

As the cliche goes, sometimes it comes down to the best player on the court. Tonight, it was Gary Payton II, who elevated the Beavers in what was a very even game. He once again led the team in scoring and rebounding, and made two clutch plays (although only 1 counted) at the end.

Oregon St. giving up a season low 6 turnovers also helped.

What's concerning is that unlike against UCLA, Langston Morris-Walker never got going. In 32 minutes, he scored 2 points on just 4 shots, and had 1 rebound, assist, and steal. Oregon State will need him to be a threat offensively in the future.

For now though, they get to celebrate a sweep of the LA schools. USC has now lost 4 in a row, and 6 of their last 7, dropping below .500 to 9-10, and 1-6 in conference. Here's Conquest Chronicles' assessment of the game.

The Beavers (14-5, 5-2) are 3rd in the Pac-12, a half game behind Arizona and Utah. Oregon State travels to Arizona next week to play the Sun Devils (10-9, 2-4) Wednesday, and have a rematch against the Wildcats (17-2, 5-1) on Friday.

Cue the fight song

Cue the fight song!

(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)