Aaron Fuller made his biggest contribution on the night with six seconds to play, as the Trojans survived 69-68 over Oregon State. J.T. Terrell kept his composure in the final seconds, making the game-winning assist to Aaron Fuller who sunk a layup for the victory.
Bob Cantu earned his first victory as USC Men’s Basketball Head Coach, after agonizingly watching his team blow a 15-point second half lead.
The Trojans came out firing early and often, playing lights-out basketball for most of the first half. USC jumped out to a 10-4 lead behind strong shooting from its most important players. Byron Wesley led the cause scoring a season-high 19 points, including 12 crucial first half points.
Aggressive play on both sides of the court, alongside a refreshing grace of ball movement made the Trojans play much more relaxed in the first half. To cap off the exciting half of action, James Blasczyk rebounded a miss shot and put back a monster slam dunk pushing the lead to eight.
The Trojans shot 51 percent from the field in the first half and more importantly only missed one free throw. In somewhat of a surprising move, Omar Oraby got the start for USC but played ineffectively, committing two turnovers while also coming up very small on the boards during his 15 minutes of action.
USC followed up the Blasczyk dunk on a 7-0 run to open the second half, extending their lead to 46-31 with 18 minutes to play in the game. Oregon State fire back on a 17-2 run of their own, tying the game at 48.
The Beavers switch from man into a suffocating full-court pressure wreaked havoc on the USC Trojans offense. Jio Fontan suffered the most from the pressure, committing 10 turnovers in the contest, the most in his career.
Not only was Oregon State rugged, but they began to drive to the rack and score at will. Roberto Nelson carried the Beavers offense in the second half scoring 26 points on the night, including a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe.
The Trojans and Beavers began a grueling stretch with 3:44 to play featuring eight lead changes. Eric Wise played outstanding down the stretch for the Trojans scoring seven of his 19 total points in the final five minutes of action.
With 30 seconds to play down by one point, J.T. Terrell attempted to feed a bounce pass down low to Omar Oraby which sailed wide, turning the ball over to Oregon State. Luckily for the Trojans, Oregon State returned the favor when Wise stole the inbounds pass and scored to take the lead.
Burton played a strong game himself, scoring 16 points on 7-12 shooting from the field. The big man scored in a variety ways, including some awkward lay ups and hook shots that earned a nice laugh from the crowd.
Sophomore Guard Eric Moreland score three points in 27 minutes, way below his 10 PPG average off the bench. The typically high-flying Oregon State Beavers scored under 70 points for the second straight time, for shockingly only the second time this season.
The Trojans victory moves them into fifth place in the Pac-12 (8-11, 3-3), while the loss continues Oregon State’s grueling five-game losing streak leaving them winless in conference play (10-8, 0-5).