HOOPS: A bitter loss for Robinson's Beavs

A STIRRING SECOND half comeback of 15 points down by the Beavs went all for naught. Oregon State and USC traded blows down the stretch, with the Beavs coming up short at the end and remaining winless in conference play.

The lead changed hands eight times in the final 2:52. Aaron Fuller's only basket, a layup with 4.8 seconds remaining, gave USC a 69-68 victory over Oregon State on Saturday night.

Eric Moreland fed Joe Burton for a layup with 12.6 seconds to play to give Oregon State (10-8, 0-4 Pac-12) a 68-67 lead.

Devon Collier's game-winning attempt was muffed in a scrum of players as time ran out.

Roberto Nelson scored a season-high tying 26 points for the Beavers, who overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to take a 49-48 lead with 11:52 remaining. Burton and Collier scored 16 points apiece.

Oregon State forced USC to commit 20 turnovers Saturday.

"Man, that 1-3-1 is annoying," Trojans guard Jio Fortan said after scoring just eight points on two of two shooting.

"We just stayed with it (1-3-1 zone) because it was working so well," Beavers coach Craig Robinson said. "We forced some great turnovers and got some great results.

"But we can't enjoy it much because it is such a bitter loss."

The game was close until late in the first half, when six different USC players scored on the way to a half-closing 15-7 run and a 39-31 halftime lead. USC opened the second half by scoring seven straight points for a 15-point lead that led to an Oregon State timeout. The Beavers answered by outscoring USC 16-2 over the next 6:20 for a 49-48 lead.

The Trojans didn't score for 5:40.

Moreland and Victor Robbins returned to the Oregon State lineup after missing three games for violating team rules. Moreland had three points, eight rebounds, the late assist and three turnovers, one of which led to a late USC go-ahead score. Robbins played one minute.

Oregon State looked out of sorts for much of the game, with continuity issues on the offensive end.

Ahmad Starks split time with Challe Barton at the point, with each playing 20 minutes. Neither player scored. They combined for seven assists and one turnover.

It was Barton on the floor during the comeback and at crunch time. "He played better," Robinson said of Barton.

Starks came into the game averaging 13.4 points but scored just five against UCLA on Thursday.

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