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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Galen Center (10,258) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Oregon State 7-4. USC 5-5. Away Record: Oregon State 1-2, USC 1-4. Neutral Record: Oregon State 2-1, USC 1-2. Conference Record: Oregon State 0-4, USC 2-3. Series Record: USC leads, 67-59.
GAMES NOTES: In desperate need of a win the Oregon State Beavers will face off with the USC Trojans in a Pac-12 conference showdown at the Galen Center on Saturday.
The Beavers were defeated 74-64 by No. 24 UCLA on Thursday in what was the fourth loss in as many tries for them against a league foe. Oregon State is above .500 on the season (10-7), but fading fast. The loss to UCLA came during just the third true road test of the season for the Beavers who will be at home to host Washington and Washington State in back-to-back contests next.
In a tightly-contested matchup with No. 21 Oregon, USC nearly pulled off the upset but fell short in a 76-74 defeat. The loss came in the first half of a two-game homestand for the Trojans who have split their 10 games at the Galen Center. Overall USC is 7-11 on the campaign while collecting wins in just two of five contests against Pac-12 competition. USC kicks off a three- game road trip next against Arizona State.
Oregon State has won four of the last five meetings, although the teams split the season series a year ago. USC still holds the edge in the all-time series though with a 67-59 record against the Beavers.
In its loss to UCLA Oregon State had trouble with ball security as the Beavers turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 19 points for the Bruins. Oregon State shot at a 41 percent clip in the game and hit just 6-of-20 shots from 3- point range, while trailing by as many 20 points in the contest.
There is good news for Oregon State in this matchup as forward Eric Moreland (10.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg) will be returning after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. Getting Moreland back will be a huge shot in the arm for the Beavers as he is the second-leading rebounder in the conference and one of five players scoring in double figures for Oregon State. Roberto Nelson (15.5 ppg) has been the top scoring option, while Devon Collier (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Ahmad Starks (12.6 ppg) have also been contributing. Joe Burton (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is the final double-figure scorer. In all Oregon State is scoring 75 points per game and shooting a solid 45.5 percent from the field, while ranking among the top three teams in the conference in rebounding (39.1 pg) and assists (15.4 pg).
USC used a 9-0 run over the last three minutes to cut a 10-point deficit to just one point with 33 seconds remaining against Oregon. The Trojans were unable to complete the comeback though by missing a pair of shots in the closing seconds. USC shot 52 percent over the final 20 minutes en route to the second-rally.
It is the Trojans' inconsistencies on offense that have held them back. USC is scoring just 64.4 points per game while shooting at a 42.7 percent clip. Both of those marks are ranked 11th in the conference as is the Trojans' efforts on the boards (34.7 pg). On defense USC has been sturdy enough limiting teams to 64.7 points per game on just 41 percent shooting. Unlike the Beavers there are a limited number of scorers for USC. Eric Wise (12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg) is the top option as he shoots at a 51.2 percent from the field. JT Terrell (10.0 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures but has struggled to do so by connecting on just 32.5 percent of his shots from the floor. Jio Fontan (8.4 ppg, 5.1 apg) is third in the conference in assists but his 31.6 field goal percentage has kept him from being a more dynamic player for the Trojans.
Even without Moreland the Beavers would have a huge edge over the Trojans up front. With the 6-foot-10 double-double threat back the Beavers should overpower the Trojans and finally get a win in conference play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 76, USC 68
01/19 10:32:37 ET