Pac-12 counterparts Oregon State and Southern California meet Sunday in Los Angeles, with both coming off conference-opening wins.
Oregon State (4-4, 1-0 Pac-12) went on a raucous rally over the closing minutes of Thursday’s 66-65 defeat of Washington, ripping off six points in 30 seconds to take a late lead. The Huskies regained control 65-63 before Dexter Akkano’s and-one play with eight seconds left secured the Beavers win.
Dzmitry Ryuny led Oregon State with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“I felt like I needed to step up and get the team on my back, and help get the energy going, and make sure everybody’s focused,” Ryuny told The Oregonian following the win.
Oregon State was coming off a trying stretch, losing all three games at the Phil Knight Invitational over Thanksgiving weekend and four in a row total — including two games to Portland State.
The Beavers look to move to 2-0 in conference play with Sunday’s visit to USC (5-3, 1-0), which cruised to a 66-51 rout at Cal in the Trojans’ league opener on Wednesday.
Joshua Morgan played a monster game on the defensive end with seven blocked shots, matching his high since transferring to USC from Long Beach State last season. He also scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Morgan emphasized in his postgame interview with Pac-12 Networks the need to start strong coming off back-to-back losses to Tennessee and Wisconsin at last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, and the Trojans responded with a 20-0 second-half run to put away Wednesday’s game.
“I feel we can be the best team in the Pac,” Morgan told Pac-12 Networks in his postgame interview Wednesday. “We all have that confidence. We lost a couple tough games but we got together and we could really win those games, so we don’t think there’s any team that can really beat us flat-out.”
USC brings an outstanding defense into Friday’s contest, boasting the nation’s 12th-highest percentage of blocked shots on opponent possessions per KenPom.com metrics (16.2) while holding opponents to 40.1 percent shooting inside the 3-point arc.
Oregon State comes in struggling on offense, particularly with turnovers. The Beavers are coughing up the ball on 21.6 percent of possessions per KenPom.com.
–Field Level Media