There was no bounce back for USC basketball, falling in Eugene to the Oregon Ducks 81-60 on Sunday night in a game which was never close.
USC may have been experiencing a bit of a hangover from their overtime loss to Oregon State as they faced off against Oregon with the added headache of Kevin Porter Jr.’s suspension for a “personal conduct issue.” The Trojans fell behind 6-0 before Nick Rakocevic finally laid in the his team’s first basket.
Despite going more than four minutes without scoring, Oregon held onto their lead through the midway point of the half as USC struggled to score. Jonah Mathews’ jumper pulled the Trojans as close as three points but Victor Bailey Jr. responded soon after with a triple to push it back to eight.
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With just over six minutes to play in the half, the Ducks scored twice as many points as their opponent, leading 26-13. Oregon would push their advantage as large as 15 in the first half thanks to back-to-back threes by Louis King and Paul White.
USC had a response, however, closing the gap to eight at halftime, 36-28, by scoring the final seven points of the period, capped by a Mathews’ triple.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Ducks produced the first five points of the second half to restore their lead to double digits.
After Bennie Boatwright caught an elbow to the face and USC turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, King put up a corner three to give Oregon a new largest lead of the night: 18 points. It would only get worse for USC, who trailed by 21 with under 11 minutes left to play
Mathews and Boatwright did what they could to get the Trojans back in it by each hitting a three-pointer. However, Oregon responded to each in turn with a make from distance of their own. Then Duck guard Payton Pritchard did them one better with yet another triple to expand the gap to 24 points.
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There was hardly a consolation run for the Trojans, who ultimately trailed by as much as 26.
Oregon ran riot until the final whistle, winning 81-60.
From the get-go, it was clear the Trojans were not in for a good night. Oregon hit three of their first four three-point attempts while USC missed their first five.
The Ducks pulled ahead quickly and stayed ahead on the strength of 54.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Boatwright couldn’t replicate his bulk scoring contribution from Corvallis and so the Trojans stayed well behind.
The forward finished with 13 points, trailing Mathews for the team lead with 15. While increasing his scoring on the night, Mathews had no assists and made six of 13 attempts.
Nick Rakocevic ended the outing with 11 points on much-improved shooting at 5-of-7 compared to the Oregon State game. Unfortunately, he sat out most of the first half with foul trouble and didn’t have an impact when the game was in the balance.
It was set up to be a potentially big night for freshman guard Elijah Weaver with fellow freshman Porter Jr. suspended. However, he made just one of his seven attempts and committed three turnovers, though he did lead USC with five assists.
Next on tap: USC will go up against crosstown rival UCLA at the Galen center on Saturday, January 19 at 1:00 p.m.