That acquainted doubt was swirling, those self same vultures circling, essentially the most essential juncture of its so-far charmed season closing in all of a sudden on USC, as Tahj Eaddy caught a move on the top of the key Monday night, ready to exorcise a long time value of demons on his personal.
He and the Trojans had bounced again from deflating defeats earlier than this season. However by no means have been the stakes this high, with the Pac-12 race in a lifeless warmth, or the turnaround this fast, with only at some point between their robust loss to Arizona and a all of a sudden rescheduled matchup with Oregon.
In order the uncertainty about USC was simmering once more, Eaddy determined to dispense with the suspense rapidly. He knocked down one three. Then one other. Then one other, extinguishing any lingering doubt over the course of a 72-58 victory spectacular sufficient to show the Trojans’ remaining skeptics into believers.
“We’re showing we’re one of the best teams in the country,” Eaddy said. “We felt like we let one slip against Arizona. We just wanted to let teams know, you can’t bully us. We’re fighters. We’re not going to give in like that.”
USC didn’t waste time throwing the primary punch … or the second … or the third on Monday night. As Eaddy sunk his trio of triples to open the sport, the Trojans soared to a 15-0 run, whereas Oregon missed its first 12 shots from the field, failing to hit a shot till more than eight minutes had already passed.
That depth by no means waned, whilst USC’s scorching scorching taking pictures did within the second half. Eaddy was an offensive murderer once more, pacing the Trojans with 24 points. But it surely was the remainder of the supporting cast that suffocated Oregon’s offense and left its defense out of types early on.
After USC was outworked on the boards and outmuscled within the paint by Arizona on Saturday, the complete team got here out with one thing to show Monday.
“We wanted to make a point tonight,” Eaddy said.
Ethan Anderson, pushing simply previous six feet, flew into the lane for rebounds. Drew Peterson barreled into the paint for unfastened balls. Even Eaddy, whose defense was lax two nights earlier, locked down, suffocating Oregon’s backcourt with strain.
Highlights from USC’s 72-58 win over Oregon on Monday.
Peterson and Anderson, who’ve struggled at times on offense, did a little bit of every part, combining for 18 rebounds and 12 assists, to go along with 21 points.
“Their defensive effort and intensity were much better,” coach Andy Enfield said. “That’s what we expect out of those guys.”
What Enfield hadn’t expected was to be playing Oregon in any respect on Monday. The Pac-12 sprung that call on USC late final week, a lot to the clear dismay of the Trojans coach, who took each alternative to point out how the team had overcome the circumstances its convention had thrust upon it.
“Very proud of them, the way they responded on short notice,” Enfield quipped.
One other setback left USC short-handed even earlier than its essential, bounce-back victory started. Sophomore ahead Isaiah Mobley was held out with a strained calf that he suffered in opposition to Arizona. The turnaround time was too quick, Enfield said, to make sure that Mobley, an important part of the Trojans beginning lineup, was wholesome.
Mobley stays daily and will travel with the team to Colorado next week, Enfield said.
So, with Mobley out and the impediments stacking up, Enfield adjusted the sport plan, relying more on a four-guard strategy round star freshman Evan Mobley. He put Anderson into the lineup for Peterson, who, Enfield said, “needed to play better.”
Mobley was mobbed once more by the Geese defense, dooming him to a quiet 11 points and 5 rebounds. However for Peterson, the lineup adjustment “woke me up a little bit,” he said.
The Saturday night loss, Peterson added, had done the identical.
“Going into the Arizona game, you’re kind of thinking you’re rolling a little bit, everything is coming a little easier,” Peterson said.
“But honestly, going into March, you need games like that, to get your head on straight.”
USC didn’t waver a lot Monday night. At the same time as Oregon bought scorching from deep, firing again to inside 10 late within the second half, the Trojans stored their foot on the gasoline.
“We knew they’d go on a run eventually, and we were able to withstand that,” Enfield said.
More obstacles stay from right here. However for Monday at the least, that rising doubt had dissipated in a rush.