USC scored just 10 points over the final 12:25 of the game and the Oregon State Beavers held on for a 59-55 win over the Trojans on Saturday afternoon at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. It is the fourth straight loss for the Trojans (9-10 overall, 1-6 Pac-12), while the surprising Beavers under first-year head coach Wayne Tinkle improved to 14-5 and 5-2. They are a perfect 12-0 at home.
On a day when they honored his father for a 58-point performance against USC in 1990, Gary Payton II led all scorers with 21 points, including two huge buckets down the stretch, and added 10 rebounds.
Katin Reinhardt may have had his best game as a Trojan in the losing effort. The transfer from UNLV led USC with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting and was an impressive 4-of-7 from three-point range. Unfortunately for USC, his backcourt counterpart Jordan McLaughlin really struggled, scoring just nine points on 2-of-11 shooting and 1-of-7 from downtown.
Oregon State opened up a 29-18 lead with 3:15 to go in the first half, but the Trojans closed the half on a 9-0 run to pull within two. Reinhardt scored five of the nine points. The momentum continued for USC out of the locker room as Reinhardt hit a 3-pointer to put the Trojans ahead. But Olaf Schaftenaar knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers for his own 9-0 run.
USC responded with an 15-2 run over the first seven-plus minutes of the second half to take a 45-40 lead. The Trojans would only make two of their next 13 shots after that and Oregon State scored the next 10 points to surge ahead 50-45.
Despite the cold shooting down the stretch, the Trojans had a chance. Julian Jacobs and McLaughlin each missed threes that would have tied the game. With 20 seconds left, USC forced a shot clock violation and had the ball down 58-55, but Jacobs threw it right to Payton II, who was lurking on the perimeter.
Jacobs, who has been one of USC's best players in conference play, scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting and seemed bothered by Oregon State's zone defense all night. Darion Clark scored all eight of his points by going a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line. He came in shooting just 49 percent from the stripe. Clark also added eight rebounds. Nikola Jovanovic scored in double figures for the 14th consecutive game (13 points, six rebounds).
USC head coach Andy Enfield employed a unique starting lineup with four guards (McLaughlin, Reinhardt, Jacobs, and Malik Marquetti) along with Jovanovic. Freshman Malik Martin, who has started 10 games this season, played sparingly in the first half and didn't see the court in the second half. Tinkle used seven players, but in reality only six played the bulk of the minutes.
USC will return home next week to take on Colorado and Utah on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PST and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. PST. The Trojans were swept on their road trip against those two schools and were outscored by a combined margin of 165-120.