Southern California puts its four-game winning streak on the line Thursday in a pivotal Pac-12 matchup with host Oregon in Eugene, Ore.
The Trojans (17-6, 9-3 Pac-12) won their 12th consecutive home game on Saturday, holding off a late-game rally to beat Washington, 80-74.
Behind career-highs of 22 points for Tre White and 21 points from Kobe Johnson, USC overcame poor shooting performances from season-long leading scorers Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson — both of whom went 4-for-14 from the floor — to stay within a game of UCLA for first-place in the conference.
Johnson also made four steals, bumping his average to 2.2 takeaways per game, second-best in the league.
“I study (the opponent’s) lead scorer. I want to be put on him, I want to lock them down, I want to take them out of the game,” Johnson said after the win against the Huskies. “I watched a lot of film to learn what moves he does, what he likes, what his go-tos are, I just study everybody.”
Oregon (14-10, 8-5) has won three of its last four games, including Saturday’s 75-70 win at Arizona State. Leading scorer Will Richardson (14.0 points per game) hit his average against the Sun Devils and knocked down 3 of 4 shots from behind the arc.
Teammate Keeshawn Barthelemy made all three shots from long range en route to 15 points, and N’Faly Dante led the Ducks with 18 points.
The win helped keep the Ducks’ hopes of contending for an NCAA Tournament bid alive. Oregon sits at No. 55 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, just behind No. 51 USC.
“We’ve got the (Los Angeles) schools coming in, obviously really big games,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said after Saturday’s win via GoDucks.com “We’re just gonna have to play really hard and really well, and try to build something here.”
Thursday’s matchup is the only regular-season contest between the Ducks and Trojans this season. USC won the last encounter, played Feb. 26 a year ago in Eugene, 70-69, behind 20 points and eight rebounds from Peterson.
–Field Level Media