Isaiah Mobley, Chevez Goodwin rally USC past Oregon State

LOS ANGELES — When Isaiah Mobley came back for his junior season at USC, there was an understanding that he would have more responsibilities this year. He was the Trojans’ best player, and the team would rely on him to carry it through adversity.

Mobley delivered on Thursday night, scoring six straight points for the Trojans in crunch time to turn a one-point Oregon State lead into a five-point USC advantage with two minutes left.

That spark helped fifth-ranked USC hold off the Beavers, 81-71, and avoid its second straight loss.

It was another rocky start for USC (14-1 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12) on the defensive side of the ball following Tuesday’s loss at Stanford. The Beavers made four of their first five shots and opened an early 14-7 lead. The Beavers shot 66.7% from 3-point range in the first half and 57.7% from the floor, leading by as much as nine behind 16 points from Jarod Lucas.

The defensive issues were compounded by USC playing out of character on offense. USC forced up 15 attempts from 3-point range in the first half and only managed 12 points in the paint, an area the lengthy Trojans usually dominate. Head coach Andy Enfield even turned to freshman Kobe Johnson for some early minutes, looking for a spark, to no avail.

But eight Oregon State turnovers kept USC within striking distance. The Trojans even tied the score behind back-to-back assists by Drew Peterson with 1:22 left in the half.

The Beavers (3-12, 1-4) responded quickly, though, with Lucas hitting his fourth 3-pointer and Warith Alatishe blocking a Boogie Ellis layup and turning it into a transition layup to give Oregon State a five-point halftime lead.

That grew to 10 early in the second half before the USC defense clamped down, holding Oregon State to 33.3% shooting in the second half.

The offense still needed some jump starts, though, and forward Chevez Goodwin was happy to oblige.

There were his back-to-back second-chance buckets, roaring after a dunk that cut the deficit to five. Then after a Peterson jumper gave USC its first lead with 10:31 left, Goodwin shimmied after completing a layup through a foul.

Goodwin finished with a team-high 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half, while adding 12 rebounds.

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