USC Can't Overcome Sluggish First Half

USC tied a season-low with 23 first-half points and couldn't come back from a 26-point second half deficit, falling 76-66 to Oregon State. J.T. Terrell had a season-high 21 points.

For the ninth straight game and 14th time in 15 games, USC basketball players headed to the locker room with their head down after a loss.

It wasn't without some second half comeback flair, though. After falling behind by 26 points, USC (10-18, 1-14) trimmed the lead down to five points with 1:44 remaining but couldn't get over the hump. The Trojans fell 76-66 to the Oregon State Beavers (15-12, 7-8), despite a season-high 21 points from J.T. Terrell.

USC did manage to snap a streak of 23 games with double-digit turnovers, giving the ball away eight times -- and only three times in the second half. However, USC's woeful first half shooting (9-for-31 FG, 0-for-8 3PT) proved to be too much to overcome.

The Trojans struggled with Oregon State's length, particularly in the early going. The Beavers blocked nine shots, including five in the first seven minutes, during which time they opened up a 16-3 lead.

USC scored only three points in the first eight minutes and tied a season-low with 23 first-half points. That lead would blossom to 23-points at halftime, 43-20, and up to 26 with 12:25 remaining.

"We should have never been down that much in the first place," senior point guard Pe'Shon Howard said. "But you got to give them credit. They were ready from the tip off. We kind of made it easy for them, though, and they just took advantage of it."

USC responded with a 10-0 run and later a 14-1 run that cut the lead back to single digits for the first time since the opening media timeout.

"At the end, we began to press and get some energy," USC basketball head coach Andy Enfield said. "Once we ramped up our intensity and energy, we played good basketball."

But the Trojans didn't have enough juice and/or time to finish off the comeback with Oregon State making seven of its last nine free throws in the final 1:19.

Terrell scored 18 of his 21 in the second half when he shot 7-of-14 from the floor. His backcourt mate, Byron Wesley, struggled coming off a two-game suspension for a 'violation of team rules.' He was 4-for-13 from the field, failing to score double-digit points for only the fourth time this season.

Enfield applauded the effort of freshman Roschon Prince, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes -- the second most minutes he's played.

Four Beavers finished in double digits. Roberto Nelson scored 14 points; Angus Brandt put in 13; Devon Collier had 12 and Langston Morris-Walker scored 11 -- all in the first half.

USC basketball will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday when the Trojans host Oregon at 1 p.m. PST. Oregon State basketball will travel across town to UCLA for a Sunday matchup (6 p.m.) at Pauley Pavilion.

Oregon State 76, USC 66 Post-Game Presser -- USC head coach And Enfield:

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