LOS ANGELES (AP)Onyeka Okongwu scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half and Southern California defeated Long Beach State 87-76 on Sunday for its third straight win.
The freshman was limited to four points on 2-of-5 shooting, one block, one steal and one foul in the first half. He came alive to start the final 20 minutes, scoring 16 of the Trojans first 17 points as they extended their lead to 12 points.
Okongwu had three dunks in the game, the last coming off an inbounds pass from Ethan Anderson that pushed the Trojans’ lead to 70-56. Okongwu finished 13 of 19 from the field and came up five points short of his career high of 33 points. He led the team with 12 rebounds.
Anderson had a career-high 12 assists for USC (9-2)
Jonah Mathews added 18 points, making five 3-pointers, and freshman Isaiah Mobley had 11 points and nine rebounds. Mathews scored the Trojans’ last nine points of the game.
Chance Hunter scored 18 points for the Beach (3-8), which has lost four in a row and seven straight to the Trojans in Los Angeles. Colin Slater added 15 points.
The Beach took its only lead on a 3-pointer by Max De Geest early in the game. The Trojans responded with a 14-2 run, including three straight 3-pointers, to lead by nine.
The Beach twice closed within three later in the half only to have the Trojans hit timely 3-pointers. USC ran off nine straight points for a 14-point lead. But Long Beach State outscored the Trojans 10-2 to trail 40-34 at the break.
Long Beach State: With a young roster, the Beach has played a strong nonconference schedule even if it has lost all four Pac-12 contests. It lost to UCLA by four points, by 28 to Stanford and by 37 to then-No. 14 Arizona before falling to the Trojans. The Beach has six freshmen, three transfers and three redshirt players this season.
USC: The Trojans are in the midst of playing eight of 10 games away from home, and they’ll open Pac-12 action next month with three straight road games. The 23 days between their last home game and Sunday’s contest at Galen Center is the longest stretch in a season without a home game since also going 23 days during the 1985 season.
Long Beach State: Hosts Southern Utah on Thursday in the second of three home games this month.
USC: Plays LSU on Saturday in a doubleheader at Staples Center in the teams’ first meeting since 1976.
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