Second half breakdowns doom Beavs at USC

THERE WAS NO great mystery to Oregon State's 68-52 loss to USC on Saturday in the Beavs' regular season finale. Careless passing and poor execution on both ends of the court turned a close game at halftime into a rout as the Beavers wrapped up an exciting, turnaround regular season with a disappointing loss.

The game turned on a 10-0 USC run in the second half as the Beavers turned the ball over and moved with little energy on defense.

Oregon State's 1-3-1 defense bothered USC early, the Trojans had scored only six points at the 11:45 mark.

The problem for Beaver fans was that OSU had also scored only six.

Calvin Hampton's tip in tied the game at 12-12 with 5:51 left in the first half. And then Calvin Haynes' deuce put the Beavs on top 14-12.

But USC went on a 6-0 run to end the half. The low scoring half, 18-14, was not a barbinger of things to come.

Both teams came out with better rhythm on offense, Lathen Wallace drilled a three-pointer to give OSU a 30-29 lead with 13:31 left in the game. And that's when things fell apart for Oregon State.

The 10-0 USC run pushed it to 39-30 and gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the night before Seth Tarver hit two free throws for the Beavs with 9:05 remaining.

USC scored the next five points to push their advantage to 12. The Beavs briefly close the deficit to eight points but USC took off again and led by as many as 17 points down the stretch.

Oregon State meets Stanford in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on Wednesday.

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