On the heels of their first loss of the season, the fifth-ranked Trojans looked out of sorts early. USC trailed Oregon State by as many as nine points in the first half Thursday night and was down on the scoreboard for nearly three-quarters of the game.

But when the Trojans needed the defense to make plays late, the defense did exactly that and the Trojans downed the upset-minded Beavers, 81-71.

USC (14-1) closed the game on an 11-0 run to win it. Oregon State (3-12) didn’t score a point over the final 3:55 and missed six of its final seven shots from the field.

It wasn’t turnovers that was causing USC issues in the first half, not an alarming difference on the boards or a one-sided advantage in the paint, Oregon State just couldn’t miss. The Trojans had been holding opponents under 30% from the 3-point line on the season coming in, but Oregon State was 6-for-9 in the first half from beyond the arc and 9-for-17 on everything else.

USC was shooting sub-40% as Boogie Ellis, Drew Peterson, and Isaiah Mobley were a combined 6-for-18 from the field. The Trojans built their 13-0 start to the year on the strength of their defense, but since returning from a lengthy COVID pause, that defense had slipped a notch and the offense hadn’t been able to pick up the slack. It appeared to be more of the same against the Beavers in the first half.

But USC just kept grinding. It dominated the boards in the second half and won the paint. The Beavers shot 33% over the final 20 minutes and only hit three more 3s. Peterson was more effective from the field. Mobley asserted himself. And Chevez Goodwin was everywhere.

In the second half alone, Goodwin had 14 points and 10 rebounds. He was everywhere. The forward made hustle plays on both ends of the floor and fought to keep possessions alive. The energy was infectious.

Jarod Lucas led the Beavers with a game-high 27 points. He was 9-for-16 from the field and 6-for-10 from 3.

For USC, Goodwin led the way with 20 points and 12 boards. Peterson supplied 17 points, seven boards, and four assists. Mobley added 11 to also go with seven boards and four dimes.

The Trojans are back in action on Saturday when they host Oregon at 8 p.m. PT on FS1. The Ducks just upset No. 3 UCLA Thursday night.

Oregon State will also stay in LA for a game against the Bruins on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.