A loss is familiar here
There is a possibility that this game will reverberate in Washington, D.C. It will certainly cause some shudders around the USC campus.
As Oregon State fans chanted over and over, “Just like football,” Trojans basketball players could finally say they were on par with the university’s football program -- neither could beat the Beavers in Corvallis this season.
But as bad as that was for USC’s football team, Oregon State’s 62-58 overtime victory at Gill Coliseum on Sunday also was devastating for the basketball team.
The Beavers, 6-25 last season, ended a 21-game Pacific 10 Conference regular-season losing streak with the victory, and did so by rallying from 15 points down in the last 12 minutes of regulation.
Roeland Schaftenaar’s rainbow three-point basket with four seconds left sent the game into overtime. Calvin Haynes, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the last 12 minutes and overtime, scored on back-to-back drives to give the Beavers a 61-57 lead with 24 seconds left.
Moments later, the arena’s public address announcer was screaming into the microphone, “Beavers win, Beavers win,” while a handful of students milled around on the court seemingly unsure what to do when their team wins a conference game.
First-year Coach Craig Robinson -- the brother-in-law of President-elect Barack Obama -- knew how to handle it.
“This means a heck of a lot to our program,” he said. “Winning a game at this time, winning a game like this, gives us a chance to win another.”
The mood was a whole lot more gloomy on the USC side. They headed to Oregon hoping to come back undefeated heading into home games against 12th-ranked UCLA and 17th-ranked Arizona State.
The Trojans blew out the Oregon Ducks on Friday, then blew a tire Sunday against the Beavers.
“They were hungry for that first win and we didn’t want it to be us,” forward Keith Wilkinson said. “But they were mentally tougher than us down the stretch.”
USC Coach Tim Floyd issued warnings, as he pointed out to his team how well the Beavers played in the second half in a 69-46 loss to UCLA on Friday.
“Maybe they paid more attention to the first half rather than the second half,” Floyd said.
Oregon State (6-6, 1-1) jumped to an 8-0 lead, as USC’s first seven possessions resulted in three missed shots and four turnovers.
Even as the Trojans (10-4, 1-1) clawed back to take a 25-20 halftime lead, it was clear that the Beavers’ 1-3-1 zone defense was causing problems. The Trojans were left on the perimeter and ended up with more turnovers (18) than free-throw attempts (10).
“They bothered us with that zone defense,” point guard Daniel Hackett said. “We were unable to get into a rhythm at all. We weren’t able to throw the ball inside at all.”
They were able to throw it away. Hackett had six turnovers and guard Dwight Lewis had five.
“They disrupted our offense,” said Lewis, who had six points after scoring 26 against Oregon.
It didn’t seem to matter after Hackett made a three-pointer to give USC a 42-27 lead with 12:54 left. USC reduced speed and Haynes picked up his pace, penetrating repeatedly for layups or kick-outs. He finished seven for 12 from the field, with six layups.
“We started to turn the ball over, we gave them good shots, we didn’t defend well,” Hackett said. “In the Pac-10, you do that, you get punished.”
Gibson’s dunk gave the Trojans a 54-48 lead with two minutes left. USC turned the ball over on its next three possessions.
Leading, 54-51, with 14 seconds left, the Trojans were supposed to foul but didn’t. Gibson was supposed to stick with Schaftenaar. He didn’t, and went to double-team Haynes.
The Trojans had a 57-54 lead in overtime but failed to extend it on their next two possessions.
“You have to give Oregon State the credit,” Floyd said. “Their shot selection was better than ours. Their defense was better than ours.”
USC up next
Sunday, 7:30, Galen Center, Prime Ticket: Trojans post player Taj Gibson has averaged 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds against UCLA. Last season, USC handed the Bruins one of their two conference losses, but the Trojans were led in that 72-63 victory at Pauley Pavilion by two freshmen (O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson) who have since departed. USC later lost to UCLA at home and in the Pac-10 tournament. Coach Tim Floyd is 2-5 against UCLA.
-- Chris Foster