After Thursday's come-from-behind victory over Oregon, USC Head Coach Tim Floyd was concerned that the Trojans might take the lowly Oregon State Beavers lightly. But that certainly wasn't the case Saturday night as the Trojans jumped out to a 10-0 lead en route to an 81-53 blowout win in front of 8,143 fans at the Galen Center.
"They are all important in this league and our guys I thought handled the game maturely," Tim Floyd said after the win. "We guarded early in the game and got a little confidence defensively. I thought our guys shared it and played together."
The one scare of the game came in the opening minutes when USC freshman guard OJ Mayo limped off the court and straight to the locker room. Minutes later Mayo returned to the floor and immediately made a turnaround jumper over an Oregon State defender.
After the game Mayo explained what happened on the play, "I tweaked my achilles a little bit. I stepped on the back of his shoe."
Mayo didn't appear bothered by his achilles as he scored a game-high 21 points and also made several big plays on the defensive end leading USC with 3 steals.
USC led by as many as 31 in the first half and took a 43-16 lead into the locker room.
The Trojans came out just as hot in the second half with freshman point guard Angelo Johnson and OJ Mayo providing the excitement.
Johnson connected on three straight 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to extend the Trojans lead to 52-18.
"Angelo is getting a little better every night out. He is getting more confidence. He gives us a great push. He gets us in a running mode which we like," Tim Floyd said of his freshman point guard.
Johnson finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
One of the most important things about the Trojans dominant performance was it allowed Tim Floyd to empty the bench and give the starting five some much needed rest. Dwight Lewis was the only Trojan starter to play more than 30 minutes.
"We were able to get some other guys into the game tonight. You never know when you are going to need players and from that standpoint we benefited from it," said Floyd.
Ryan Wetherell and Keith Wilkinson both contributed off the bench for the second straight game. Wetherell played 17 minutes at point guard and Wilkinson played 14 minutes in the post. The return of freshman guard Marcus Simmons is a very positive sign heading down the stretch. Simmons had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes of play off the bench.
"I think it was great that we could get him on the floor and get him some minutes," Floyd said of Marcus Simmons. "I thought he handled those minutes really well."
Wetherell, Wilkinson and Simmons should provide the Trojans with some depth and tough defensive play heading into the Pac-10 Tournament.
Daniel Hackett could also add some depth in the Pac-10 tournament. Hackett began running on Saturday and will meet with doctors on Monday. Hackett was optimistic that he could make a return this season.
With the 81-53 win, USC looks to be in good position to get an NCAA Tournament berth.
When asked about the Trojans chances of making the tournament Floyd replied, "I wish I could tell you. All I know is if we keep winning we will. We are just going to try and win them all. That is the best formula."