CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Onyeka Okongwu scored 18 points and had three highlight-reel dunks in the second half to lead Southern California to a 75-55 victory over Oregon State on Saturday.
USC (16-4, 5-2 Pac-12) never trailed and had balanced scoring with five players in double figures.
Okongwu, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound freshman forward, was 7 of 8 from the field with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
“Honestly, this was the most confident game I’ve had all season,” Okongwu said, who leads the Trojans in scoring, rebounding and blocks. “It was really fun coming out there and playing against a sold-out crowd.”
Actually, the game at Gill Coliseum wasn’t a sellout, but the home fans didn’t have much to cheer about.
USC coach Andy Enfield called some of Okongwu’s dunks “spectacular."
“He’s a special young man, very explosive, especially with a running start.” Enfield said.
Oregon State (12-8, 2-6) has lost four games in a row and failed to score 60 points in three of those defeats.
USC led 30-8 with seven minutes left in the first half, and although the Beavers made a few runs, they never got closer than six points the rest of the game.
“We dug ourselves too big a hole,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said, adding “defensively we just weren’t on page."
USC shot 64.6% overall, and was 16 of 22 in the second half, a torrid 72.7%.
“We were very efficient offensively the whole game, especially in the second half,” Enfield said. “ Our guys shared the basketball. We had 20 assists."
Jonah Matthews added 16 points for the Trojans, Elijah Weaver had 13, Ethan Anderson 11 and Nick Rakocevic 10.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Zach Reichle and Antoine Vernon cut the Trojans’ lead to 46-40 with 12:54 remaining.
The Trojans responded with a 14-0 run, culminated by Mathews’ jumper, and led by 20 points with seven minutes left.
USC was in control from the outset. Oregon State made just 2 of its first 12 shots and trailed 17-7 midway through the first half.
Tres Tinkle, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer, led the Beavers with 17 points, but was just 6 of 16 from the field. Kylor Kelley was the only other Oregon State player in double figures with 10 points.
The Beavers hit just 37% of their field goal attempts. Oregon State is 0-8 when its opponents shoot a better percentage.
BIG PICTURE USC: The Trojans have won 10 of their last 12 games and improved to 5-2 on the road. ... They dominated Oregon State coming off a double-overtime loss at Oregon. ... USC shot over 60% for the first time this season.
Oregon State: The Beavers fell to 1-3 in conference home games. ... Tinkle’s two free throws late in the first half gave him 35 in a row, a school record, and moved him past Steve Johnson into second place on the school’s career scoring list. Tinkle also extended his double-figure scoring streak to 85 games. ... Kelley, who is second in the nation in blocked shots, did not record a block for the first time this season.
USC hosts Utah on Thursday.
Oregon State will be at Stanford on Thursday.
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