EUGENE, Ore. — The USC basketball team fell into a big hole early in its Pac-12 opener and couldn’t mount a comeback in the second half.
Kwame Evans Jr. scored a career-high 22 points with eight rebounds and five steals, and compatriot Jackson Shelstad scored a season-high 21 points to help Oregon hold off USC, 82-74 , Thursday evening.
Oregon started on a 12-2 run and dominated the first half to open a 42-25 lead at the break. The Ducks took a 36-18 lead, thanks to a three-pointer by Brennan Rigsby with 3:04 remaining, after making six straight shots. USC made just five of its first 20 shots from the field and turned it over 10 times in the first 17 minutes. The Ducks finished the first half with six 3-pointers, while USC had just seven baskets total.
Boogie Ellis, who had just two points in the first half on 1-of-7 shooting, made two 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half during a 12-3 run to bring USC to 45-37.
The Trojans got within four points (78-74) in the second half on a three-pointer from Ellis with 38.1 seconds remaining. But they missed 3-point attempts on the next two possessions and Kario Oquendo sealed it for Oregon by making four straight free throws in the final 33 seconds.
Oquendo finished with 15 points and Jermaine Couisnard added 13 for Oregon (9-3), which has won 11 of its last 12 home games.
DJ Rodman and Joshua Morgan each scored 14 points for USC (6-6). Ellis, averaging 19.5 points per game, and Isaiah Collier (16.1 points per game), added 11 points each. Bronny James had five points and four fouls in 14 minutes.
USC plays its fourth straight game Saturday against Oregon State – its longest road streak since the 2002 season. The Trojans have won 11 of their last 15 games against the Beavers.
Oregon hosts UCLA on Saturday, looking to end a three-game losing streak in the series.
California Daily Newspapers