Lucky 13? The USC Trojans (13-3) earn their 13th victory in a 13-point win (75 - 62) over the Oregon State Beavers (8-6).
It was a defensive battle in the first half. Both teams shot below 40% from the field and less than 30% from behind the arc. Neither team gave any breathing room for their opponent to get their shot off. And both teams did it without fouling.
Each team took only four free-throws a piece, but the Beavers made all of their attempts, while the Trojans went 1-for-4 at the line. USC was able to make up for it on the glass, however. They had an astonishing 15 offensive rebounds to Oregon State’s four.
“Any time you can get extra possessions that helps a lot. I give our players credit, they played a physical and energetic basketball game” coach Andy Enfield told reporters in a postgame press conference.
But when you looked up at the first half scoreboard, USC only led by three (30-27). Evan Mobley was doing his part, scoring 8 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Noah Baumann matched Mobley’s eight first half points, but the rest of USC’s roster didn’t give them much offensively.
That changed in the second half.
When asked what was different after halftime, Ethan Anderson said, “I feel like in the second half we upped our intensity and upped the pace in our offense. When our offense moves at a greater pace, our shot tends to fall a lot more.”
And he was right. Ethan Anderson and Isaiah White only combined for two first half points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. But they started cooking in the second half, combining for 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting. And the hot shooting perpetuated throughout the entire roster.
The Trojans couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half, but they went 16-for-26 in the second half as a team and made 5-of-10 shots from behind the arc.
Their defense continued to shut down the Beavers in the second half, only allowing them to shoot 34.3% from the field, which was actually worse than their first half percentage.
Evan Mobley finished the game with another double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks), giving him seven on the season.
The Trojans next game was scheduled for Saturday, January 30, against the Oregon Ducks, but it was postponed due to a COVID-19 issue. USC won’t play again until Tuesday when they take on the Stanford Cardinals (9-5).
But coach Enfield didn't sound too upset with the extra days of rest.
“It is nice to have at least a weekend off to take a deep breath, appreciate the fact we are 13-3, and 7-2 in the league. But also look ahead and say we have to keep improving as a basketball team because there are two tough games next week,” said coach Enfield.
FINAL: USC 75 - OSU 62
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