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USC, Oregon State aim for bounce-back effort

usc,-oregon-state-aim-for-bounce-back-effort

Southern California aims to emerge from its funk when it faces Oregon State in Pac-12 play Saturday night in Corvallis, Ore.

The Trojans (6-6, 0-1 Pac-12) have lost four of their past five games, including an 82-74 road loss to Oregon in Thursday’s Pac-12 opener.

USC allowed more than 80 points in all four setbacks during the stretch — including 89 against then-No. 11 Gonzaga, 84 in an overtime loss to visiting Long Beach State and a season-worst 91 at Auburn.

It was another tough night against the Ducks as the Trojans trailed 42-25 at halftime before playing better in the second half.

“Our starting lineup decided to play basketball with some passion, some energy and some toughness,” USC coach Andy Enfield said of USC’s second-half play.

“They didn’t do that in the first half. … They made a lot of defensive mistakes. But in the second half, they started to play like they are capable of. I was very proud of them. They fought back in the game, showed a lot of toughness.”

Joshua Morgan and DJ Rodman led the Trojans with 14 points apiece. Leading scorer Boogie Ellis had just 11 on 4-of-15 shooting as his team-best average dropped to 18.7 per game.

Reserve Bronny James had five points, three rebounds and two steals in 15 minutes in his fourth college game since returning from a procedure to address a congenital heart defect.

“He’s still getting back into basketball shape,” Enfield said. “He gets winded, so we have to give him breaks, but he’s really good at asking to come out of the game. He’s a very impressive young man.

“He gave us good energy off the bench. He just needs to keep getting better.”

Oregon State (8-4, 0-1) had a five-game winning streak halted by falling 69-62 to visiting UCLA.

The Beavers gave up only 24 first-half points before allowing 45 in the second.

“Tough one. I liked the focus we came out with,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We knew they were a little bit of a wounded animal and we were going to come out and throw everything at them. I thought our guys responded well.”

Dexter Akanno scored a career-best 22 points for the Beavers. Jordan Pope had 13 points and Tyler Bilodeau recorded 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Pope averages a team-high 16.6 points per game. Akanno scores 12.6 per game and Bilodeau averages 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds.

USC has won 11 of the past 15 meetings, including a split last season.

–Field Level Media

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