Men’s basketball tops Oregon State for fifth win in a row

The USC men’s basketball team continued its winning streak on the road in Corvallis, beating the Oregon State Beavers 74-67 Saturday night.

Senior guard Elijah Stewart scored 18 points on Saturday in the Trojans’ fourth-straight victory over Oregon State. Tucker Judkins | Daily Trojan

After the Trojans defeated the Oregon Ducks on the road for the first time since 2009, they won their fourth-straight game over Oregon State and fourth-straight game in the Pac-12 thanks to four scorers in double-digits.

Troy started the game neck-and-neck with Oregon State, eventually pulling away via two straight 3-point buckets from senior guard Elijah Stewart to put USC up 12-7.

Stewart, who has struggled this season to consistently hit shots, ended the game with a team-high 18 points off of four-of-eight shooting from 3-point range.

Before scoring his highest total since a 20-point performance over Akron, Stewart started the Oregon trip by scoring a season-low 2 points, failing to hit all five of his field goals.

After leading 12-7 at 15:30 in the first half, the Trojans scored just 8 points in the next eight minutes to lead the Beavers 20-16 before going on another run.

The Beavers’ offensive impotency came from their inability to hit the deep ball. Oregon State hit just two of their nine 3-point shots in the first half, ending the game by hitting at the exact same clip.

OSU kept things close with USC in the first half by drawing contact with the Trojan’s defense backcourt and hitting their subsequent foul shots.

Trojans’ junior forward Chimezie Metu, redshirt junior guard Shaqquan Aaron, sophomore forward Nick Rakocevic and sophomore guard Jonah Mathews each collected two personal fouls.

USC sent Oregon State to the line six times in the first half and watched the Beavers score 9 of their final 11 points off of free throws, including four straight free throws from sophomore forward Tres Tinkle after a technical foul on Trojans’ head coach Andy Enfield and shooting foul on Rakocevic.

While Tinkle was busy scoring 14 of OSU’s 33 first half points, the Men of Troy provided a more balanced offensive attack as six Trojans scored 4 or more points in the first half.

Junior forward Bennie Boatwright, who missed all five of his 3-point attempts in the first half, managed to hit all of his 2-point shots and collect three assists, three rebounds and a steal.

The final 20 minutes were a tale of two halves for USC.

The second half started off slow for the Trojans, but USC ultimately pulled away with 34 points in the final 12 minutes thanks to a huge second half from freshman guard Jordan Usher. 

The Trojans failed to hit nylon for seven and a half minutes after hitting an initial 2-point bucket to start the second half against the Beavers and their top-ranked scoring defense.

Buckets from Beavers senior forward Seth Berger, Tinkle and junior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. put Oregon State up 45-37 with 13:20 left in the half.

In response, USC took the next eight and a half minutes to enact revenge, scoring 30 points off of 77 percent shooting and holding OSU’s offense to just 11 points on a 38.4 percent clip.

Despite missing both of his two shots in the first half, Usher exploded off the bench for four straight 3-pointers and 14 points in just 12 minutes of play. 

In contrast, Boatwright continued his first-half shooting woes and finished by missing a lone 3-pointer, while Metu followed up a 4-point first-half by missing all five of his second-half field goals.

But, unlike Boatwright, Metu provided three key blocks, four rebounds and a perfect eight-for-eight from the free-throw line.

Stewart and senior guard Jordan McLaughlin combined for six assists and 12 points off of 50 percent shooting from the field and made eight free throws.

On the other side of the ball, Tinkle tallied 7 points in the second half to go along with six boards. Meanwhile freshman guard Ethan Thompson and Thompson Jr., who had similar first half performances, performed differently in the second half.

Thompson Jr. hit just one of his three field goals in the first half and then six of his 12 in the second, leading the Beavers with 13 points.

In comparison, Thompson played all 20 minutes in the second half and scored only one-of-six from the field for just 6 points.

Ultimately, Oregon State’s inability to hit its deep shots, combined with USC’s shooting proficiency in the final 12 minutes, resulted in a big road win for the streaking Trojans.

With the momentum from their first Oregon school sweep and a four-game winning streak, Southern Cal welcomes Bay Area foes Stanford and Cal this Thursday and Sunday, respectively, to the Galen Center.