Pe'Shon Howard had been a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. USC was actually still in the game because of the combination of its strong shooting from the charity stripe and Oregon State's struggles there.
The Trojans had been 18-of-19 while Oregon State had missed 15 of its 35 free throws. But after a wild final possession of the overtime period that ended with Howard being fouled, he went to the line with 0.9 seconds remaining. Howard's first shot hit the rim, bounced off the backboard and fell through, 7-for-7.
Howard repeated his free throw routine. The senior guard took a deep breaths, looked at the rim, took another deep breath, dribbled twice, straightened his back and set the ball deep into his palm. He rose up on his toes and fired toward the rim.
Howard took two steps backwards, put his head in his hands and fell to his knees on the court.
The shot had hit the back rim and ricochetted into the hands of the Beavers' Devon Collier. 76-75. Oregon State victory.
USC (10-11, 1-7) jumped ahead 9-4 early and built an eight-point first half lead, but the Beavers (12-8, 4-4) battled back as the Trojans got saddled with some early foul trouble that became an issue throughout the game. (USC was called for 24 fouls to Oregon State's 16, but that's life on the road with Pac-12 referees.)
With his first block, Oraby continued a nation's best streak of 26 consecutive games with a rejection.
Oraby was also the focus of the turning point in the game. After the teams had battled back and forth in the first 10 minutes in the second half, USC built a six-point lead and was only allowing Oregon State to hang around due to offensive rebounds and putbacks.
But with 8:31 remaining, Oraby picked up his fourth personal foul and jawed at the official, earning himself a technical foul -- his fifth personal foul, disqualifying him from the game. The Beavers made three of the four free throws and were suddenly back in the game.
USC basketball struggled to make baskets down the stretch, allowing Oregon State to take a 68-67 lead with five minutes to go. Wesley came up big on back-to-back possessions with a pair of free throws and knocked down his second 3-pointer of the night with 3:05 remaining. It was the Trojans' final points in regulation.
Oregon State got a run out fast break on a long rebound with just over a minute to go. Roberto Nelson dished the ball ahead to Daniel Gomis, who clanked a dunk, but the Beavers got yet another offensive board and freshman Hallice Cooke swished a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Oregon State out-rebounded USC 47-36 and collected 19 on the offensive end.
Wesley and Nelson both missed opportunities to win the game, sending the game into overtime. There were plenty more misses in the extra five minutes. Howard made USC's first field goal with 1:02 remaining to tie the game. Nelson answered with a layup with 25 seconds remaining. Andy Enfield called his final timeout with 19.9 seconds to go.
That led to a crazy possession where Wesley missed a runner and Oregon State grabbed the rebound and passed it ahead to Nelson. Julian Jacobs attempted to foul Nelson, but the refs let them play on. Nelson fumbled the ball away to Howard, who drove the ball from mid court to the hoop.
He leapt around a defender trying to take a charge and shot a layup up off the glass. The ball bounced off the rim and was in Nikola Jovanovic's hands for a tip in when the referee (just then) called a foul on Howard's shot, sending him to the line for the fateful pair of field goals with the chance to tie.
Nelson finished with a game-high 24 points. Wesley scored 23 points while Howard had 16 and Oraby had 13.
USC basketball will try to bounce back and get their first conference road win on Saturday when they take on Oregon (14-6, 2-6), who lost 70-68 to UCLA on a late tip in, at 5 p.m. PST. Oregon State gets UCLA on Super Bowl Sunday at 11:30 a.m. PST.