USC’s comeback falls short against Oregon in double OT

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chandler Lawson #13 of the Oregon Ducks drives to the basket on Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Southern California’s Nick Rakocevic, left, shots over Oregon’s Shakur Juiston during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

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  • Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, center, goes up for a shot between Southern California’s Max Agbonkpolo, left, and Isaiah Mobley, right, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • Oregon’s Chris Duarte, right, steals the ball from Southern California’s Daniel Utomi, back, and Elijah Weaver during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks dunks the ball during the first half against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Daniel Utomi #4 of the USC Trojans during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Head coach Andy Enfeld of the USC Trojans yells out to his team during the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Oregon’s Shakur Juiston, center, goes up for a shot against Southern California’s Onyeka Okongwu, left, Ethan Anderson and Isaiah Mobley, right, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23 : (L-R) C.J. Walker #14 of the Oregon Ducks, defends against Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans, as Payton Pritchard #3 closes in during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Max Agbonkpolo #23 of the USC Trojans blocks the shot of Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Southern California’s Onyeka Okongwu, left, and Ethan Anderson, right, battle Oregon’s Anthony Mathis, center, for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • Oregon head basketball coach Dana Altman calls to his team during the second half of an NCAA basketball game in against Southern California Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks drives to the basket on Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Oregon’s C.J. Walker, right, dunks the ball past Southern California’s Isaiah Mobley, left, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks blocks the shot of Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans asC.J. Walker #14 defends during the second overtime at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-68. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks hits a shot over Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans shot late in the second overtime at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-68 in two overtimes (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts after hitting a shot late in the second overtime against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-68 in two overtimes (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts after hitting a shot late in the second overtime against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-68 in two overtimes (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Southern California’s Onyeka Okongwu dunks the ball, right, ahead of Oregon’s Shakur Juiston during the second half of an NCAA basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • USC’s Ethan Anderson, left, and Jonah Mathews, right, battle Oregon’s Chris Duarte for the ball during the second half of Thursday’s key Pac-12 game in Eugene, Ore. Oregon won 79-70 in double overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • Southern California head basketball coach Andy Enfield, left, yells at Onyeka Okongwu during the second half of an NCAA basketball game against Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans brings the ball up the court on Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket on Will Richardson #0 of the Oregon Ducks during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Head coach Dana Altman of the Oregon Ducks speaks with an official during the second half against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Payton Pritchard #3 of the Oregon Ducks reacts after hitting a shot during the second half against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans dunks the ball during the second half against the Oregon Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Ethan Anderson #20 of the USC Trojans reacts after the Oregon Ducks scored during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans and Chandler Lawson #13 of the Oregon Ducks battle for a rebound during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • EUGENE, OREGON – JANUARY 23: Chris Duarte #5 of the Oregon Ducks drives to the basket on Max Agbonkpolo #23 of the USC Trojans during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena on January 23, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 79-70. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

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EUGENE, Ore. — Chris Duarte had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Payton Pritchard reached a Pac-12 milestone for career points, rebounds and assists, and No. 12 Oregon outlasted USC 79-70 in double overtime in a battle between two teams near the top of the conference standings on Thursday night.

With 24 points and seven assists, Pritchard became the first player in the Pac-12 to reach 1,500 career points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds. When the achievement was noted on the video scoreboard at Matthew Knight Arena in the second half, the crowd gave the senior guard a standing ovation.

Pritchard is just the sixth player in Pac-12 history with 1,500 points and 600 assists, joining Oregon State’s Gary Payton, Arizona’s Damon Stoudamire and Jason Gardner, USC’s Jordan McLaughlin and UCLA’s Tyus Edney.

Duarte also had eight steals, one shy of the school record.

Oregon (16-4, 5-2) led by 11 in the second half but USC rallied with a 17-2 run to take a 62-58 lead, capped by Jonah Mathews’ 3-pointer with 1:24 left.

C.J. Walker and Pritchard hit consecutive layups to tie it at 62 and send the game to overtime.

Pritchard’s 3-pointer in the first extra period gave the Ducks a 65-64 lead, but Ethan Anderson’s layup and free throw put the Trojans back ahead by two. Duarte made free throws for the Ducks to tie it again, and Mathews and Pritchard both missed shots down the stretch.

Duarte and Pritchard each made free throws that gave Oregon a four-point advantage to open the second overtime. Duarte’s 3-pointer put the Ducks up 74-68, and USC couldn’t catch up.

Freshman Onyeka Okongwu had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Trojans (15-4, 4-2).

Oregon was coming off a 64-61 overtime win at Washington last weekend. The Ducks overcame a 16-point deficit and won that game on Pritchard’s 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left. But Oregon lost to Washington State 72-61 last Thursday, resulting in a fall from No. 8 to No. 12 in the AP Top 25.

USC had won nine of its last 10 games and three straight, including last Saturday’s 82-78 overtime victory against Stanford. The Trojans came back from a 21-point deficit in the second half to beat the Cardinal.

The Ducks built an early 15-7 lead after Duarte’s fast-break layup and 3-pointer. Oregon stayed in front, but USC closed to 24-23 on Daniel Utomi’s jumper.

The teams went to the break with Oregon ahead 32-30. Utomi led all scorers with 10 points.

Okongwu’s layup for USC tied it at 32 to start the second half but the Ducks responded with a 10-0 run, capped by Duarte’s jumper off a dish from Pritchard. Okongwu’s dunk ended the Trojans’ scoring drought.

Okongwu made consecutive baskets to pull USC to 56-53, and Matthews tied it with a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 Trojans run. Pritchard answered with a layup for Oregon.

Freshman forward Chandler Lawson’s layup stretched the Ducks’ lead to 49-38 midway through the second half.

Lawson made his first start for the Ducks after he had 16 points and 12 rebounds against Washington. Oregon was without center N’Faly Dante, who was questionable for the game after hurting his knee against the Huskies.

Pritchard was one of just two Division I players averaging at least 19 points, five assists and four rebounds per game, joining Pepperdine’s Colbey Ross.

NOTES

The Trojans started 4-1 in conference play for the first time since 2016. USC went 5-0 to open conference play in 2002. … Pritchard is closing in on Oregon’s career record of 614 assists held by Kenya Wilkins. … Pritchard has won 96 games as a Ducks player, one shy of Oregon’s career leader, Johnathan Lloyd.

UP NEXT

USC visits Oregon State on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Oregon hosts UCLA on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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Onyeka Okongwu’s record-tying debut leads USC to season-opening win

  • USC’s Daniel Utomi, right, drives to the basket against Florida A&M’s DJ Jones during the second half of Tuesday’s season opener at the Galen Center. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans fights for the ball with Bryce Moragne #23 of the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nasir Core #5 of the Florida A&M Rattlers dives fro the loose ball against USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Quinton Adlesh #10 of the USC Trojans fights for the loose ball against Florida A&M Rattlers Alan g with teammate Jonah Mathews in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Bryce Moragne #23 of the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Bryce Moragne #23 of the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Robert McCullum of the Florida A&M Rattlers against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans rebounds against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans fights for the loos ball against Evins Desir #34 of the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans smiles against Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans slam-dunks against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans shoots against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ethan Anderson #20 of the USC Trojans drive to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ethan Anderson #20 of the USC Trojans trips over Kamron Reaves #2 of the Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the second half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans fights for the loose ball against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans drives tot the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nasir Core #5 of the Florida A&M Rattlers dives for the loose ball against Isaiah Mobley #15 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Daniel Utomi #4 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Elijah Weaver #3 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Andy Enfield of the USC Trojans against Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • USC Trojans song girls perform in the second half of a NCAA basketball game between the USC Trojans and the Florida A&M Rattlers at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Nick Rakocevic #31 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against the Florida A&M Rattlers in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Robert McCullum of the Florida A&M Rattlers against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • USC Trojans song girls perform in the second half of a NCAA basketball game between the USC Trojans and the Florida A&M Rattlers at the Galen Center on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. USC Trojans won 77-48. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Center Onyeka Okongwu arrived at USC with a lot of hype; a five-star recruit, a three-time state champ at Chino Hills High.

In his first game as a Trojan, Okongwu showed why, coming two blocked shots shy of a triple-double to lead the USC men’s basketball team to a 77-48 victory over Florida A&M in the season opener at the Galen Center.

Okongwu finished with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. His eight blocks tied a school record, set three previous times, and led a larger USC effort that limited the Rattlers to 32 points in the paint.

“That was not my objective for the night. I just wanted to go out and help my team win,” Okongwu said of the record. “But it’s an extreme milestone, but I’m happy with the W tonight.”

The freshman center left the game with 6:56 to play, drawing a nice round of applause as he made his way to the bench to finish the game as a spectator.

Such a performance might not seem important just looking at the final score, but it was necessary given how the game started.

November basketball was in full effect in the first half, with both teams struggling to shoot the ball. USC started the game 3 for 13 from the floor, and a 6-0 FAMU run put the Trojans in a 10-6 hole.

“The first half, the ball was sticking, stopping,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “Too many turnovers, not enough assists. We missed a lot of easy buckets around the paint.”

Senior guard Jonah Matthews, who didn’t start the first half due to being late to classes, broke the streak with a three-point play. A couple of Elijah Weaver baskets put USC back in the lead.

But overall USC couldn’t find the basket in the first half. The Trojans made a third of their 33 attempts and went 1 for 8 from 3-point range and 1 for 9 from the free-throw line.

Okongwu described it as “first-game jitters.” His coach was a little more harsh about the performance, which included 17 turnovers by the time the night was over.

“We were our own worst enemy in the first half, but I thought the second half our guys came together and played like a team,” Enfield said.

The only one who didn’t struggle from the field was Okongwu. The center made his first three shots, a put-back dunk four minutes in jolting the sparsely-populated Galen Center to life.

He finished the half a basket short of a double-double, which he got on the first possession after halftime as the Trojans ran a play to get Okongwu the ball in the post.

That gave way to a stronger offensive half for USC, as the Trojans opened with a 25-10 run, shot 19 for 33 from the floor and outscored FAMU by 28 after the intermission.

Freshman forward Isaiah Mobley finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds, while guard Ethan Anderson added seven assists, two of them on alley-oops to Okongwu.

After the game Mobley, an AAU teammate of Okongwu’s for three seasons, joked he was coming for the block record himself next time around, when USC hosts Portland on Friday.

“We’re extremely competitive, so next time I’m going to try get nine,” Mobley said.

But for the night it was Okongwu making room for himself atop the record book, in his first collegiate game, too.

USC’s freshmen shined as the Trojans posted a big win in their season opener.

Peep the highlights! 👀pic.twitter.com/QJnXKHyM5N

— USC Men’s Basketball (@USC_Hoops) November 6, 2019

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USC’s freshmen show promise in exhibition victory over Villanova

LOS ANGELES — It was only an exhibition, two-and-a-half weeks before the games start to count. But it was hard for USC to not feel encouraged by its 72-61 victory over Villanova on Friday night at the Galen Center.

Against a likely top-10 team, USC just wanted to work on its execution and show signs of improvement as it worked through the growing pains of a roster full of freshmen and transfers. The Trojans made significant strides from the first half to the second and came away with a win as the cherry-on-top confidence boost heading into the season.

“I thought it was a terrific early basketball game. Even though it didn’t count on your record, you couldn’t tell by how the two teams were playing,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “It gives our players confidence that we can compete against a physical Big East team like Villanova that’s been so successful.”

USC played five members of its six-man freshman class on Friday (the sixth, Drake London, is a little busy with the football team). But it was the two five-star recruits, center Onyeka Okongwu and forward Isaiah Mobley, who started for the Trojans against Villanova.

It was clear in the first half that USC was still trying to figure out how to incorporate Okongwu and Mobley on offense. The ball moved around the perimeter without landing in either’s hands.

A free throw from Okongwu with seven minutes left in the first half represented the only scoring either did in the first 20 minutes. Mobley didn’t take a shot until he missed a turnaround jumper with 5:50 left before halftime, and Okongwu’s only attempt from the field was a failed 3-pointer three minutes later.

“The first half was choppy,” Enfield said, noting USC’s 11-man rotation in the period. “Some of that choppiness on offense was my fault because it’s hard for some guys to get into a flow.”

Okongwu was much more assertive in the second half. The former Chino Hills High star made a jump hook on the opening possession of the second half and was active on the offensive glass to get himself some extra opportunities on offense. He finished the game 6 for 12 from the field with a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“In the second half, he was dominant for a 5- to 6-minute stretch,” said Enfield, who hopes this group can spark a turnaround for a program that went 16-17 last season. “He’s learning how to play college defense.”

Mobley was less active in the second half but finally broke through with 11 minutes left, posting up to get the space he needed for a soft hook shot.

The other freshman who got extended run on Friday was guard Ethan Anderson. The former Fairfax High standout was the second man off the bench and provided USC’s best highlight of the first half when he drove past his man to the left and threw down a dunk.

But more importantly, Anderson proved that he can be a valuable playmaker, showing some creativity with his passes.

In the first half, he caught a rebound and skied it ahead to Nick Rakocevic, who was fouled in transition. Then Anderson found Quinton Adlesh cutting to the rim and bounced the ball to him, picking up a hockey assist as Adlesh swung it to Daniel Utomi in the corner for one of his four first-half 3-pointers.

Utomi, a graduate transfer from Akron, matched Okongwu with 15 points, all on 3-pointers.

“Coach Enfield has a great offense for all of his players,” Utomi said. “I feel like he puts every single one of us in great positions.”

In the second half, Anderson, who finished with nine points five assists, lobbed a pass to Mobley, who tapped it in for a bucket.

Anderson had three assists and five points during a 16-5 second-half run that helped the Trojans take control of the game.

“He’s different,” senior Jonah Matthews said of Anderson. “He has it all; the athleticism, the handles, the defense, the guard play, the IQ. There’s nothing really missing from there.”

Big win over the Cats in our exhibition!

👀 all the highlights 💥pic.twitter.com/iHSi1724cy

— USC Men’s Basketball (@USC_Hoops) October 19, 2019

USC 64, Villanova 56 with 2:31 to go

Trojans looking to close out the Cats! pic.twitter.com/uD0c3CG95s

— USC Men’s Basketball (@USC_Hoops) October 19, 2019

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Bennie Boatwright’s career night not enough for USC in OT loss at Oregon State

  • Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson, Jr. dribbles past USC’s Jonah Mathews during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

  • USC’s Bennie Boatwright shoots in front of Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson Jr. during overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Oregon State won 79-74. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

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  • USC’s Bennie Boatwright brings the ball up the court during the first half of Thursday’s Pac-12 game against Oregon State in Corvallis. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

  • Oregon State’s Alfred Hollins shoots next to Southern California’s Jonah Mathews during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

  • USC’s Derryck Thornton defends against Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

  • Oregon State’s Alfred Hollins leaps while defending USC’s Kevin Porter Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

  • Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson Jr. weaves through USC’s Jonah Mathews, left, and Kevin Porter Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Oregon State won 79-74 in overtime. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — On a night of career performances, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Oregon State got the better of Bennie Boatwright and USC.

Thompson Jr. scored a career-high 34 points with five 3-pointers and 10 rebounds as Oregon State, playing without leading scorer and rebounder Tres Tinkle, outlasted USC 79-74 in overtime on Thursday night.

Boatwright had a career-high 37 points with four 3-pointers and eight rebounds for USC (9-7, 2-1) and Jonah Mathews added 13 points off the bench for the Trojans.

In overtime, Boatwright sank a pull-up jumper with 1:30 left to put the Trojans up 74-72. Ethan Thompson responded with a 3-pointer on the Beavers’ next possession.

Boatwright missed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, and the Trojans were forced to foul. Stephen Thompson Jr. made one of two, and the Beavers led 76-74.

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Freshman Kevin Porter Jr., who had missed all but a few minutes of the past few months with a thigh bruise, attacked the rim for USC, but Kylor Kelley rejected his shot. Stephen Thompson Jr. gathered the rebound, was fouled, and made both free throws this time.

“Both teams played hard, both played pretty well and they made a big shot. That was the difference in the game,” USC coach Andy Enfield said.

Ethan Thompson added 13 points and Gligorije Rakocevic had 10 points for the Beavers (10-4, 2-0 Pac-12), who found a way to win despite the absence of Tinkle (20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds per game).

“What do you say about Stevie? Just stepping up as a senior and willing our team to victory. Everybody else fed off of him,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We showed a lot of guts and a lot of grit.”

Oregon State went on an 18-0 run in the first half, holding the Trojans scoreless for nearly six minutes, to take a 32-25 lead with 5:33 before the break.

The Beavers went to halftime up 36-31.

USC was ahead 66-64 and had the ball with a minute left in regulation, but Nick Rakocevic’s jumper was blocked by Kelley. On the Beavers’ next possession, Warren Washington’s shot was blocked by Rakocevic, but Ethan Thompson grabbed the offensive rebound and made a lay-in.

Boatwright missed a 3-point attempt from the top of the key on the last possession of regulation.

“We have depth on our team. When one guy goes down, we can make it up in different ways,” OSU freshman point guard Antoine Vernon said.

BIG PICTURE

USC: Rakocevic, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week after averaging 25 points and nine rebounds in home wins over Cal and Stanford, was held to just six points and seven rebounds. … The Trojans had won their last six games against the Beavers, including three last season. … Boatwright’s point total was the most by a USC player since O.J. Mayo also had 37 in a 2008 game against Arizona State.

Oregon State: Kelley, who came into the game leading the nation with 3.9 blocked shots per game, had five points and seven blocks. … Tinkle’s injury opened more playing time for other players, including freshman big man Washington, who had career highs with seven points and 26 minutes.

ANKLE UPDATE

Wayne Tinkle said his son could have played Thursday, but he would have only been about 70 percent, and his ankle would have deteriorated to only 60 percent for Sunday. But with rest, the coach was counting on Oregon State’s star to play against UCLA. “We can’t make a decision for sure, but I’m banking on him playing until I hear something else. But we’ll see,” the coach said.

PLAYING TIME

Washington didn’t play a minute against Oregon last week, but on Thursday he was getting plenty of time and checking Rakocevic. Wayne Tinkle said Washington earned his playing time by working hard in practice after Christmas. “We thought we could try this big lineup at some point,” he added.

UP NEXT

USC plays at Oregon on Sunday.

Oregon State hosts UCLA on Sunday.

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USC’s De’Anthony Melton, Chimezie Metu land in second round of NBA draft

De’Anthony Melton, who was expected to be selected as high as the mid-20s in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, ultimately faced a longer wait.

The former USC guard was drafted midway through the second round, slipping to the Houston Rockets, who snagged him with the No. 46 overall pick.

Despite a fall into the second round, it appeared to be a promising pairing, with the analytics-minded franchise settling on Melton, a 20-year-old player who had earned favor among a variety of analytics experts over the past year due to his versatility.

During his freshman season for the Trojans in 2016-17, Melton averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocked shot. Only one other freshman (Dwyane Wade, then at Marquette) had averaged as much across all five categories since 1992-93.

Melton’s selection was followed three picks later by his former USC teammate, Chimezie Metu, the springy forward who was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the No. 49 overall pick.

They were the first USC players to be drafted since Nikola Vucevic in 2011, ending the longest drought in the program’s history. Previously, no more than five years had passed between USC’s NBA draft picks.

There had been 479 players drafted between Vucevic, the 16th overall pick in 2011, and Melton.

Melton’s draft stock was likely impacted after he missed his sophomore season with the Trojans due to a connection to the FBI’s investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball.

USC, which declared Melton ineligible a month into the season, led an internal investigation that determined Dave Elliott, a family friend, had accepted “extra benefits,” leaving Melton in potential violation of NCAA amateurism rules, a reason it opted to withhold him from games. Melton was never accused of wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors alleged in a federal complaint last September that Elliott accepted $5,000 from Christian Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood.

Melton, who also went to Crespi High, continued to practice with the Trojans before withdrawing from school in February to enter the draft.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told reporters in Houston late Thursday that Melton’s season-long absence contributed to his slide – and to their benefit.

“He’s a guy, who if he had played, we feel pretty comfortable he would have been a top-20 pick,” Morey said. “I think he was a little out of sight, out of mind. That played into our advantage, that he was still available.”

Trojans coach Andy Enfield said in an interview earlier this month he believed Melton would have been a lottery pick had he appeared in games as a sophomore.

While versatile, Melton’s best attribute is seen as his defense. A 6-foot-3 combo guard who is able to defend points guards, as well as shooting guards, in the backcourt, his 6-8 wingspan helps him disrupt passes and opposing ball handlers. Melton’s 1.9 steals per game were second in the Pac-12 in the 2016-17 season.

As with Melton, Metu left school early to enter the draft, bypassing his senior season. He also sat out the National Invitation Tournament to end last season.

As a junior last season, Metu, a 6-10 presence who might play power forward or center in the NBA, averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots per game.

The Lawndale High product was a gifted dunker for the Trojans and compiled 214 rim-rattling finishes over his three-year career.

In a statement following his selection, Enfield said, “Chimezie will have a long career in the NBA. He is a hard worker and has a great skill set for someone his size.”

The selection of Melton and Metu also marked the first time since 2009 that USC had two players drafted in the two-round draft. In 2009, both DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson were first-round picks.

Neither point guard Jordan McLaughlin nor shooting guard Elijah Stewart was drafted. The departed seniors were considered more fringe prospects, but both are expected to join Summer League teams.

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