USC snaps 9-game losing streak, beats Oregon State 68-55
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apparently all Southern California needed to snap its nine-game losing streak was a heavy dose of Elijah Stewart.
The freshman guard scored 19 points, making a career-high five 3-pointers, and the Trojans ended their skid with a 68-55 win over Oregon State on Saturday.
“I made that first three and it really gave me confidence boost,” Stewart said. “I felt the stroke and let that rhythm carry me on both ends.”
Stewart, who was elevated to the starting lineup because of an injury to point guard Jordan McLaughlin, shot 6 of 12 from the field. The 6-foot-5 freshman guard also had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.
“I was really happy to see a young guy like Elijah show he can come out and compete at this level in the Pac-12,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “He showed the type of skillset we need in all of our players today.”
The Trojans (10-15, 2-11 Pac-12) outscored the Beavers 42-27 in the second half to overcome a 28-26 halftime deficit. Katin Reinhardt added 16 points, Julian Jacobs had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Nikola Jovanovic had eight points and five rebounds for USC.
“They probably weren’t expecting me to come out and shoot the way I did because I’d been in a slump,” said Stewart, who had just total 24 points in the first 12 conference games. “Once I started making shots they had to adjust and it really opened up some lanes and good shots for our other guys.”
Langston Morris-Walker scored 17 points and Gary Payton II had 11 points, eight rebounds, six steals and four assists to lead Oregon State (16-9, 7-6). Malcolm Duvivier and Daniel Gomis added 10 points apiece.
The Beavers dropped to 2-9 away from home this season.
“We’ve got what we got,” OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said tersely. “We’ve just got to rest up, get home and get ready for the next one.”
Oregon State led at the half, but Jacobs threw down a vicious two-handed dunk off a fastbreak just before the buzzer to electrify the crowd and swing the momentum USC’s way going into the locker room.
USC opened the second half on a 15-3 run to take its first lead since the game’s opening minutes. Stewart hit a pair of 3-pointers and Reinhardt added another to lead the surge, which gave the Trojans a 41-31 lead with 14:07 to go.
“That dunk was a huge momentum shift,” Jacobs said. “We had been in a rut offensively and we were really excited to go into halftime like that.”
USC never let Oregon State get within two possessions the rest of the game. The Trojans finished it out in style, with Stewart throwing up a layup on the fastbreak off the backboard into the waiting hands of Jacobs, who threw down another emphatic slam to bring the crowd to its feet.
Oregon State: The Beavers dropped to 4-20 against USC in Los Angeles since 1990. ...Gary Payton II has a steal in all 25 games this season. ...Jarmal Reid was held to three points after reaching double figures in five of his last six games.
USC: The Trojans won despite committing 23 turnovers. ... Jordan McLaughlin re-injured his surgically-repaired left shoulder Feb. 11 against Oregon. He is day-to-day. ... Elijah Stewart hadn’t started since Jan. 2. ... USC has won its last five games played on Valentine’s Day.
Oregon State hosts No. 11 Utah on Thursday.
USC visits No. 7 Arizona on Thursday.