LOS ANGELES — Oregon never threatened to start a rally against USC.
The Ducks trailed by five points at halftime and the deficit kept growing because Oregon never scored on more than two straight possessions in the second half while the Trojans pulled away for a 66-49 win in front of 3,425 in a Pac-12 men's basketball game Thursday night at Galen Center.
Oregon shot 36.4 percent from the field in the second half, which was an improvement from 31.3 in the opening 20 minutes.
“We had some decent looks and then I thought we froze a little bit and were not as aggressive because we missed a lot of shots early,” UO coach Dana Altman said.
No Oregon player made half of his shots and none were allowed to speak with the media following the game.
Louis King did not seem bothered by an injury to his right hand while making 6-of-13 shots from the field to lead the Ducks with 16 points. Victor Bailey came off the bench to add 10 points.
Oregon shot 4-for-21 on 3-pointers while USC senior Bennie Boatwright made more than the Ducks on 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc en route to a game-high 20 points.
“Bennie was the difference,” Altman said. “He hit six 3s and the rest of their team, like ours, was 3-for-15, but he hit six and that was the difference. Somebody shot it well. … He had three 3-pointers in the first half and three in the second half and those 18 points gave them separation.”
Boatwright tied the conference record with 10 3-pointers in Saturday’s win over California and has gone 16-of-22 from behind the arc in the past two games. He will finish his career with 97 points in seven games against the Ducks unless the two teams face off in the conference tournament.
“He is playing as well as he has in his career, taking good shots and getting his feet set,” USC coach Andy Enfield said.
Oregon scored on three straight possessions to take a 7-2 lead, but that was as much of a rhythm as it found on offense all night. Oregon took its last lead at 23-21 on a dunk by Kenny Wooten before the Trojans took a 30-25 lead at halftime.
Shaqquan Aaron opened the second half with a 3-pointer, and the closest Oregon got was 39-32 before the Trojans followed with eight straight points, including a 3-pointer by Boatwright. Oregon scored on 12 of 27 possessions in the second half.
“We never had a run,” Altman said. “We had a couple of looks I thought could get a run going, but we didn’t knock any down.”
Oregon had its second-lowest point total of the season while matching its second-worst shooting game. The Ducks were 1-for-10 on 3-pointers in the second half.
“We did have some good 3s, but then a couple of them we looked like we were not ready to shoot,” Altman said. “We were standing straight up and down and the ball movement was not there.”
Oregon wasn’t able to get the ball inside much against USC’s zone as Wooten and Francis Okoro each went 1-for-3 from the field during a combined 35 minutes on the floor.
The Trojans were able to mix it up with Boatwright on the outside and 6-foot-11 forward Nick Rakocevic scoring 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting to go with six rebounds.
“At our place, we beat them by 11 on the boards and second chance points were 17-6 for us,” Altman said of Oregon’s 81-60 win over the Trojans last month. “Tonight we got beat by seven on the boards and second chance points were 14-7, including nine in the first half that were really big for them.”
Oregon (15-11) would have moved into sole possession of fifth place in the conference with a win, but instead tumbled down to ninth at 6-7 with the loss while USC (15-12) moved into a tie for fourth at 8-6.
“Oregon beat us bad when we played up there,” Rakocevic recalled. “This was a chance for us to get revenge and we had something to prove. It was a statement game. We played well, defended well and Bennie was knocking down shots.”