OREGON 90, SOUTHERN CAL 83
EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—Oregon’s Aaron Brooks bid farewell to 2004 in style.
The sophomore point guard scored a career-high 34 points including 23 in the second half as he helped rally the Ducks (9-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-10) to a 90-83 victory against USC Friday night.
Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 2:17 to play to put Oregon up for good, 82-80. Seconds later Bryce Taylor made it a two-possession game with a layup in transition for an 84-80 lead.
“It was a real quiet 34,” Brooks said. “It came through executing the offense.”
Brooks finished 9-for-13 from the field and 12-for-13 from the free-throw line. He also made four of the Ducks’ 11 3-pointers.
Taylor added 18 points—14 of them in the first half—while Maarty Leunen scored 13 and had steals on consecutive possessions late in the game, including one that led to Brooks’ go-ahead 3-pointer.
“He controlled the tempo of the game,” Leunen said of Brooks. “He hit his free throws and that three he hit late in the game was huge.”
Oregon head coach Ernie Kent agreed, proclaiming Brooks’ performance, one of the best games by a point guard I’ve seen in this building since I’ve been here.”
Lodrick Stewart, who scored 17 points in the first half, finished with 25 points to pace the Trojans (7-5, 0-1). His 3-pointer with 4:23 left in the game put USC up 80-77, but the Trojans didn’t score another point until his 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play.
“(Brooks) got me tonight,” said USC interim head coach Jim Saia. “I recruited him while I was at UCLA and he’s a great kid and a great player.”
Freshman Nick Young scored a career-high 21 for USC. He gave the Trojans their first lead since early in the game when he hit a 3-pointer at the tail end of a 10-2 run that put USC up 65-64 at the 10:08 mark of the second half.
Both teams shot the ball well, with Oregon making 56 percent of its shots from the field. The Ducks also made 25-of-28 free throws. The Trojans made 54 percent of their field goals, including 60 percent in the second half, as they battled back from a 46-39 deficit at the break.
“I don’t think we played well defensively compared to our previous games,” said Kent, whose team allowed a season-high in points to USC.
The Ducks led by as much as 13 points late in the first half after a 3-pointer by Leunen at the 2:58 mark gave Oregon a 40-27 advantage.