Trojans recover with strong win over Oregon State

first_imgComing back home to Galen Center seemed  to make all the difference for USC Wednesday night in a 81-70 win over the Oregon State Beavers.With the victory, USC (20-10, 9-8) breaks a three-game losing streak and advances to 16-1 at home.Head coach Andy Enfield stated how proud he was of his team’s effort not only against Oregon State in the first half, but also during USC’s first 20-win season since 2009.“We knew it would be a battle. I’m proud of our players to come out in the first half and play well,” Enfield said. “For this group to win 20 games, it’s special … The thing that makes me most proud of this team is they’ve developed as a unit. They’ve done a great job of fighting through the adversities.”Sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin lit up the scoreboard with a team-high 17 points while accumulating nine assists and one steal. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright returned to hit five of his eight 3-point attempts and pulled down six rebounds.The story of the night was a resurgent USC defense, which bounced back nicely after allowing both Stanford and Cal to win by an average margin of 21 points.Redshirt junior guard Katin Reinhardt illustrated the improved play of the Trojans and how redshirt junior forward Darion Clark’s return to the lineup was much needed.“[The first half] felt great. Everybody was sharing the ball, knocking shots down,” Reinhardt said. “[Clark] is a monster. Just the energy, the way he talks. He competes every day in practice. Every time the ball goes up, you see him trying to get the rebound … It’s a sparkplug. Every team needs that.”The Men of Troy allowed just 70 points off of 42.2 percent shooting from the Beavers, giving up just 38.9 percent of shots from beyond the arc.Instead of the Trojans starting out hot, it was the Beavers who gained an early advantage after hitting four-straight 3-point shots to go up 12-7 with just three minutes gone by.The Trojans, however, were able to build a strong lead thanks to clutch 3 shooting from McLaughlin and Boatwright, who were a combined 4-of-5 in the first 10 minutes.A surprising scratch from the starting lineup, Reinhardt was impeccable in the first half, shooting 4-4 from the floor, including two 3s to go along with USC’s 8-11 shooting from deep.Oregon State was relatively quiet in the final ten minutes of the first half as two of the Beavers top scorers, Gary Payton and Stephen Thompson, Jr., were held to just 8 combined points.By the end of 20 minutes, the Trojans were in position for a should-be victory, holding a 56-33 advantage.The second half was more of the same for the Men of Troy as the Trojans extended their lead to 23 three times.After 40 minutes of game time had elapsed, the Trojans amassed four double-digit scorers, with McLaughlin’s 17 leading the way.“We’ve got to come out with the same intensity that we do as if it was a home game,”  McLaughlin said of USC’s mentality going into the Pac-12 tournament. “We’ve got to just turn it around,”The Trojans’ final home game of the regular season will take place Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against the No. 9 Oregon Ducks.last_img

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