OSU stumbles in L.A.

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

USC takes an 81-70 win in Los Angeles to open OSU’s final pair of regular season games

The Oregon State men’s basketball team has been on both sides of the NCAA Tournament bubble this season, with multiple-game losing streaks three times but also a 5-2 record in its last seven Pac-12 games.

One thing has stayed the same though: the road troubles that have plagued the Beavers this year and before.

They struck again Wednesday night in Los Angeles, where USC dealt the Beavers an 81-70 loss.

OSU is now 17-11 and 8-9 in the Pac-12 with only the UCLA game Saturday in Pauley Pavilion remaining in the regular season.

Freshman forward Tres Tinkle missed Wednesday’s game with an ankle injury he sustained in Tuesday’s practice. He’s averaging 13.1 points per game this year, including 18.6 in the last five contests and a team-high 15.6 points per road game. He was on the bench Wednesday night in street clothes and his status in uncertain for Saturday’s game.

Against the Trojans, senior guard Gary Payton II led OSU with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists while freshman guard Stephen Thompson, Jr. added 16 points. Drew Eubanks, Jarmal Reid and Malcolm Duvivier all added eight points.

First half defensive struggles put the Beavers in a hole on Wednesday: USC scored 56 of its 81 points in the opening period, including 8-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.

OSU’s only offensive production early came from 3-point shooting, making four consecutive shots from deep to take a 12-7 lead. USC’s 20-3 run reversed the momentum and the Trojans went on to outscore the Beavers 49-26 the rest of the half.

OSU did not make a 2-point field goal for the first 9:17 of the game and had no free throws in the first 26:13. The Beavers shot 42.2 percent from the floor on the day, including a 9-for-14 effort from the line.

The Beavers made the projected field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament on Monday per ESPN, USA Today and CBS Sports after beating Washington and Washington State last week at home. The UCLA game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday will cap the regular season, followed by the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas starting Wednesday.

At 8-9 in the Pac-12, OSU is alone at ninth place in the conference standings, narrowly trailing 8-8 Stanford, 9-9 Washington and 9-8 USC. The Bruins are 6-11, coming off a 76-68 loss to Oregon on Wednesday.

Two Pac-12 games will be played tomorrow, with No. 25 California traveling to face No. 18 Arizona and Stanford visiting Arizona State.

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