LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Oregon State was able to ride out the momentum of a 26-point lead to escape the Galen Center with a 76-66 victory over USC on Thursday night.
The Beavers jumped out to an incredible start, taking a 23-point lead into halftime, looking to put away the Trojans early in the second frame. It appeared as if Oregon State (15-12, 7-8 Pac-12) would be able to move into cruise control in the first few minutes of the final period, but USC (10-18, 1-14) would storm back to bring it within five, 69-64. Time would not favor the Men of Troy, as Oregon State was able to close it out from the stripe.
Eric Moreland became the Oregon State career blocks leader after sending three shots back against the Trojans. The Texas native was a rebounding machine for the Beavers, grabbing 14 boards. He also tacked on seven points to his stat line.
Roberto Nelson scored a team-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. He also recorded five rebounds and five assists on the night, providing offensive balance for the Beavers.
Langston Morris-Walker tied a career-high with 11 points, all of which found the back of the net in the first half. The sophomore also pulled in four rebounds.
Angus Brandt scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, which helped prop Oregon State to its 23-point lead at the intermission. The big man was the standard of consistency from the stripe going 8-for-8 on the night.
"It is very hard to win on the road," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "When you put on a game like we did for the first 33 minutes of play, they aren't going to take it. We haven’t played in games that are this meaningful this late in the season and we need some practice at it. This was a good way to do that."
USC was carried by J.T. Terrell, who finished the night with 21 points behind an 8-of-18 shooting performance.
Oregon State came out on a mission, taking an early 14-3 lead after Morris-Walker got a hoop and harm to fall at the 15:33 mark of the opening frame. The Beavers would push their advantage to 22-6 with 8:40 remaining in the stanza.
Morris-Walker slammed one home off an alley-oop from Hallice Cooke at 5:10, putting Oregon State ahead, 27-12. Olaf Schaftenaar drilled a three at 2:48, propping the Beavs to an 18-point edge, 34-16.
Going into the locker room, Oregon State controlled a 23-point lead, 43-20. The Beavers never surrendered the lead in the first 20 minutes of play, holding USC to a 29 percent (9-of-31) clip from the field. Oregon State also was able to outrebound the Trojans 21-15 in the period.
The beginning of the second half followed suit as Oregon State maintained a 63-44 advantage with 9:19 left to play in the game. The Beavers would go on cruise control, holding on to their big lead as time dwindled down in the final frame. USC would go on a 17-6 run and cut the Oregon State lead to 15 at 5:35.
Cooke was ejected at the 3:15 mark after a flagrant 2 foul call.
The Beavs would be tested, as USC brought it to within five with just 1:44 remaining. Despite their late effort, the Trojans would fall short, as Oregon State was able to finish them off from the line.
Oregon State continues its road trip in California on Sunday, taking on UCLA at 6 p.m. in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.