CORVALLIS, Ore. — A glitch, a rut, a slump.
Call it what you want. The Trojans have fallen into it and can't get out.
It's one thing to trail Arizona by 44. It's another to be down 21 to Oregon State, as USC was late in the second half Thursday night en route to a 67-52 defeat before 4,123 at Gill Coliseum.
Brian Jackson had 22 points to help Oregon State (10-16, 4-10 in the Pacific 10 Conference) to its biggest victory over USC since an 84-57 win in 1988. The Beaver forward was backed by Jason Heide and Deaundra Tanner, who had 13 each.
USC (17-8, 7-6), which scored its fewest points in a game this season, was led by Brandon Granville with 16.
"I'm kind of at a loss for words," USC Coach Henry Bibby said. "We're out of sync and I can't put my finger on it.
"I still think we're a good team. The kids are trying. We had our best practices [in my] six years [here]. The kids had a meeting last night and they talked [about] what they needed to do. I thought we were very focused, very loose going into the game."
In posting their biggest victory of the season, the Beavers took control early in the second half.
The Trojans opened the second half with seven straight points to take their second and final lead of the night, 26-25. Oregon State then scored 16 of the game's next 18 points to take a 41-28 lead that was well beyond the reach of a USC team that would shoot only 30% (16 of 54) from the field for the game.
Oregon State built its biggest lead, at 67-46, with 1:53 left.
Of course the Beavers, who began the week tied for last in the Pac-10 with Arizona State and Washington, aren't going anywhere.
And neither will the fifth-place Trojans, who have lost four of their last six, if they continue down their current path.
Granville was the nearest thing to a hot hand the Trojans had, making three of eight shots (all three-pointers) and seven of eight from the free-throw line. Everyone else had icy hands; Brian Scalabrine was four of 10 from the field, Sam Clancy five of 14, and Jeff Trepagnier one of four.
David Bluthenthal missed all nine shots he attempted and was scoreless.
"I never conceived Oregon State blowing us out," Bibby said. "But they played a great game, they made some key shots late. They played with intensity. And they deserved the game.
"We just didn't hit on anything. We looked a step slow. We didn't practice Wednesday so we should have had a lot of energy. We've just got to get it back on Saturday. I know we can break out and play well."
It would have been interesting to hear the players' perspective, but Bibby still didn't want any Trojans shooting from the lip after the way they shot the ball Thursday night. He did say, however, he would lift the media ban on the players today.
After having a few days to bond with no prying media presence, the Trojans came out so focused and ready Thursday that they missed seven of their first eight shots. They didn't warm up that much after that, finishing the half seven of 25 (28%). USC had only one lead in the first half, at 15-14.
It was a first half reminiscent of last Saturday's embarrassment against Arizona. But USC was lucky to trail only 25-19.
Poor shooting by Oregon State e kept the Trojans in the game, the Beavers making only nine of their 33 attempts in the opening 20 minutes. As much as they like shooting three-pointers (the Beavers led the conference with 542 attempts coming into the game), it was not a weapon in the first half. They made only three of 12.
Oregon State did heat up a bit in the last 20 minutes, making six of 10 three-point shots and 10 of 22 overall from the field.
"I thought we started out shooting too many outside shots," Bibby said. "We wanted to get inside, but our big guys weren't really asking for the ball. We can get the ball inside against anybody if we really worked to move the ball. And at times we didn't work to get it in and get position to score."