USC out to improve effort vs. Oregon State


Southern California seeks to avoid its first Pacific-12 road sweep of the season when it tackles Oregon State on Saturday afternoon in Corvallis, Ore.

The Trojans (17-7, 9-4 Pac-12) saw a four-game winning streak come to an end when they fell 78-60 at Oregon on Thursday night, a game in which USC didn’t play up to its standards at either end of the floor.

The visitors watched as Oregon piled up 42 first-half points en route to a 15-point lead, then could do no better than finish with 60 in the game, just two higher than their season-low.

USC’s Boogie Ellis had 19 points in the loss. But as far as teammate Kobe Johnson is concerned, getting at least four assists for the fifth consecutive game was more important to the long-term health of the team.

“He’s being a point guard,” Johnson said of Ellis, who has totaled just seven turnovers in the past five games. “Last year, not to cut on him, but he wasn’t as good of a passer as he is now. He’s definitely advanced his game in that aspect and he took that personal. He’s learning to get everybody involved and he’s learning to be a true point guard.”

Johnson was the big scorer with 17 points when USC barely got by Oregon State 63-62 at Los Angeles in December. Dexter Akanno matched that total for the Beavers.

Oregon State (9-16, 3-11) has rarely been that close in 12 games since then, defeating Cal and Colorado, while losing the other 10 by a total of 163 points.

The Beavers are coming off a 62-47 home loss to UCLA on Thursday, one game after getting drubbed 84-52 by another top-10 team, Arizona.

Jordan Pope continued an impressive freshman season with 17 of Oregon State’s 47 points in the UCLA defeat. The Beavers started three freshmen and a sophomore as they point toward a rosier future.

“I believe in the team,” Pope said. “We’ve got the players, the coaching staff. I believe we can do something really great here. Whether that’s this year or the years coming, we have something special, and I want to be a part of it.”

The Beavers had just four assists against UCLA, two coming in the final two minutes.

–Field Level Media

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