- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California won its 20th game only after remembering what it took for the Trojans to win their first 19.

“It felt like we got back to being the team that won 19 games,” said Jordan McLaughlin, who had 17 points and nine assists to lead the Trojans to an 81-70 victory over Oregon State on Wednesday night.

“This week on film we watched some of our good games,” said McLaughlin. “We got into the film room and we got our confidence back.”

Katin Reinhardt scored 15 points and Bennie Boatwright added 13 for the Trojans (20-10, 9-8 Pac-12), who scored a season-high 56 points in the first half.

“The ball just went into the basket for us tonight,” said Reinhardt. “It started on defense. We were playing hard. We got back to playing how we’ve been playing all year. We knew scoring wasn’t going to be an issue if we started the game off with a lot of intensity.”

With the Trojans snapping a three-game losing streak to move into sixth place in the conference standings with one regular-season game remaining, coach Andy Enfield didn’t want to start thinking about post-season possibilities.

“We’re just excited to have won 20 games,” said Enfield as the Trojans reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 2008-09. “Forget about any tournaments. We still have a lot to play for. We’ve got a big game Saturday, and then the Pac-12 tournament. Whatever happens after that, we’ll be thankful for it.”

Nikola Jovanovic had 10 points and eight rebounds for USC, which won for only the second time in seven games and improved to 16-1 at home.

Gary Payton II had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Oregon State (17-11, 8-9), which dropped to eighth place in conference with one league game left. Stephen Thompson Jr. added 17 for the Beavers, who fell to 1-7 in conference road games.

“Give them credit for making shots, but for whatever reason we just came out in a fog,” said Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle. “This was a great opportunity for us. That’s the disappointing thing. It was a letdown coming out like that. We got frustrated, stopped playing defense, and from there we got a little selfish. Shame on us.”

Southern California made 21 of 34 (62 percent) from the field, including 8 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half. USC finished off the period with an 18-4 spurt for a 56-33 halftime lead.

___

TIP-INS

Oregon State: Coach Wayne Tinkle is only the second coach in school history to win 17 games in his first two years in charge. Bob Hager was the first, back in 1923 (19-7) and 1924 (20-5). Gary Payton II came into the game as the only player in the country averaging 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 assists.

Southern California: The Trojans have won 10 of their last 12 home games against the Beavers. … The Trojans’ last five losses were by an average of 13.0 points per game, with the last two by 20 (at Stanford) and 22 (at California) last weekend. … The Trojans have six players averaging double-digits in points, and have had seven players score 19 or more points in a game this season. … With 21 points against California, Nikola Jovanovic became the 36th player in school history to surpass 1,000 points.

FOOL’S GOLD

Oregon State started the game by making four consecutive 3-pointers as they jumped out to a 12-7 lead.

“That was fool’s gold. We told our guys that,” Tinkle said. “That’s great. We’ve hit some rythm ones but let’s not forget that we’re at our best when we attack.”

From there, the Beavers missed their next six shots, committed four turnovers while going scoreless for almost four minutes.

“The telltale stat at halftime was that we didn’t shoot a single free throw,” said Tinkle. “That’s because we weren’t aggressive enough.”

LOOKING AHEAD

Coach Andy Enfield was asked about USC’s regular-season finale against Oregon, which sits stop the conference standings after beating UCLA on Wednesday night.

“We’re 16-and-1 on our home floor, so whatever magic they have (at the Galen Center) needs to happen on Saturday because Oregon is one of the top teams in the country,” Enfield said.

NEXT UP

Oregon State: At UCLA on Saturday.

Southern California: Home against No. 9 Oregon on Saturday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide