LOS ANGELES (AP) — USC coach Andy Enfield says his team needs to focus on defense, especially after giving up 50 points in the paint to Oregon State on Sunday.
“Our lane defense, so to speak, keeping them out of the paint or away from the rim, really broke down,” Enfield said.
Gary Payton II had 22 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and four steals, leading Oregon State over the No. 21 Trojans 85-70.
Elijah Stewart had 16 points and nine rebounds and Katin Reinhardt scored 14 points for the Trojans (15-5, 4-3), who lost both games of their Oregon road trip.
Enfield said USC’s defensive problems were surprising, as the squad has done a “great job” all season.
Oregon State shot 47.1 percent to 33.9 percent for the Trojans.
Reinhardt said that USC needs to get back to playing unselfishly on offense to knock down shots.
“But I think it starts with energy defensively,” he said.
Tres Tinkle scored 18 points and Drew Eubanks had 12 points and three blocks as the Beavers (12-6, 3-4 Pac-12) broke a three-game losing streak.
“We have to defend better. Oregon State got to the rim way too many times,” Enfield said.
The Trojans led 40-36 at the break. Oregon State scored the first seven points of the second half, and a twisting lay-in by Payton gave the Beavers a 43-40 lead at the 18:45 mark.
The Beavers later went on a 9-0 surge, forcing five turnovers.
The first half was fast-paced and close. USC went on an 8-0 run, which included two dunks by Chimezie Metu, to go ahead 30-25 with 5:18 left in the half.
An 8-0 burst, capped by Julian Jacobs’ lay-in, let the Trojans close to 72-66 with 4:21 remaining. The Beavers scored the next six points, however, and were able to hang on for the win.
USC: As of Thursday, the Trojans led the Pac-12 with 163 made 3-pointers. In the last four seasons, USC finished 11th or 12th in the conference in that category. … The Trojans had 75 dunks in their first 19 games this season to 31 for opponents.
Oregon State: The Beavers entered the game 2-0 in the Pac-12 when outrebounding opponents, and were 0-4 when the opposition wins the battle of the boards. On Sunday, both teams had 43 rebounds … Eubanks, a freshman center, returned to the starting lineup after being replaced for two games by senior Daniel Gomis. Oregon State has defeated USC seven consecutive times at Gill Coliseum.
LONG RANGE WOES: USC was averaging a Pac-12 leading 40.2 percent on 3-pointers, but the Trojans shot just 6 for 24 vs. Oregon State. “I thought we took a few contested shots tonight, but for the most part, we just missed open shots,” Enfield said. Oregon State shot only 3 for 18 from long range.
USC hosts Washington State on Thursday.
Oregon State travels to Arizona State on Thursday.
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