Jordan Bell looks to drive
LOS ANGELES -- The Oregon Ducks (22-4), with the help of two local players, stymied a comeback from the USC Trojans (21-5) to win 81-70 Saturday night. It was the Ducks' 14th consecutive win over the Trojans.
Looking to rebound after blowing a 19-point lead to UCLA and losing in its previous game, the Oregon Ducks almost wasted another double-digit lead in Los Angeles. Down by 10 with just under six minutes to play, USC cut the deficit to three when Bennie Boatwright sank a pair of free throws following Oregon's All-American candidate Dillon Brooks' fifth foul of the game with just over three minutes remaining.
Los Angles native, Tyler Dorsey, then took over the game for the Ducks by nailing two threes within a two-minute span. The first came as the shot clock ticked to zero after a controversial out of bounds call that kept possession with the visitors. USC's Elijah Stewart, who scored 15 for the Trojans, answered with a deep shot to cut it back to three. Oregon's other Southern California player, Jordan Bell, made a layup then USC called a timeout.
After an empty USC possession, the Ducks found Dorsey in transition, which he pulled up from deep and essentially put the Trojans away.
"When Dillon fouled out, we still had the confidence that we would find a way to win," said Dorsey. "We had a next-man-up mentality."
Both teams started this game off cold from the field. Oregon was 5 for 19 and USC was 3 for 15 with 10:36 left in the 1st half. Then the Ducks proceeded to make seven consecutive shots to give them the largest lead of the game, 26-15, at the 6 minute mark. However, the Trojans closed the half strong and trailed 35-33 at the break.
Both teams decided to push the tempo and run at the outset of the second half. Oregon struck first with a three by Brooks. The tide turned for USC when McLaughlin threw an incredible lob from half court to Stewart, who caught it, stuffed it, and threw the crowd into a frenzy. Back-to-back threes from Stewart and McLaughlin gave the Trojans a lead they would have for a short while.
Bell scored 10 points in the second half for the Ducks, doing what he can to prevent his team's first losing streak of the season as he finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
"It was very important to get a win," said Bell. "We took an 'L' against UCLA so we wanted to bounce back. We didn't want to leave with a two-game road trip loss."
Brooks led the Ducks in scoring with 21 points. Dorsey scored 19, including four makes from downtown. Oregon trails Arizona by one game in the race for the Pac-12 regular season title, they host Utah on Thursday.
Chimezie Metu led the way for the Trojans with 16 points, Boatwright and Stewart both chipped in with 15 each. USC is in the midst of its toughest stretch of the season. They go on the road for the next two games to play UCLA and Arizona, respectively.
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