No. 21 Oregon looks to continue hot hand vs. USC (Dec 30, 2016)

BY AP • December 29, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon shaved the number of undefeated teams in college basketball down to five with an 89-87 win over second-ranked UCLA on Wednesday night.

The Ducks will look to cut that list to four on Friday.

No. 21 Oregon (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) takes a 10-game winning streak into Matthew Knight Arena when it hosts No. 22 USC (14-0, 1-0).

The Ducks extended the nation's second-longest active home winning streak to 34 games when junior forward Dillon Brooks made a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to lead Oregon to an upset win over the Bruins in the Pac-12 Conference opener.

"That felt good, anytime you hit a game-winner, it feels good," Brooks said. "We will celebrate it for now and then move on to another undefeated team in USC. They are an athletic, young team."

USC posted a 70-63 win over Oregon State on Wednesday, continuing its best start since going 16-0 in 1971-72.

Trojans sophomore center Chimezie Metu said the team is taking the simple approach against the Ducks.

"We're just going to (go) on in there and play hard," Metu told the Pac-12 Network. "We're not worried about our record. We're just going to go in there and just try to play as hard as we can and try to win."

Playing hard -- and playing well -- hasn't been a problem for USC.

"That is a good offensive team playing with tremendous confidence," Oregon coach Dana Altman said of the Trojans. "You win 14 games and you are going to bounce around like you know what you are doing, and they do. We are going to have to play well Friday night. There cannot be a letdown emotionally."

Oregon had its first sellout crowd against UCLA as it improved to 9-0 at home after going 18-0 last season at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon's home winning streak trails only Kansas' 46-game run.

"I am just really pleased that we are starting to build something here at home," Altman said. "This is our place, and I think our fans felt a bit of that. The challenge again Friday is to keep the streak going. That is what you are supposed to do at home."

Oregon was back at full strength against UCLA when leading scorer Chris Boucher returned after missing two games with a sprained ankle. The 6-foot-10 senior played 27 minutes off the bench against UCLA and finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

"I played him a little more than I thought I would," Altman said. "We needed his seven rebounds."

Brooks played a season-high 35 minutes against UCLA while leading Oregon with 23 points and nine rebounds. The preseason All-American missed the first three games following offseason foot surgery and came off the bench in his first eight appearances before starting the past three games.

"I feel so good for Dillon," Altman said. "Dillon had a rough five months. He was excited about his junior year and he loves the game, so for him to hit that after his struggles, it was good."

Altman will have to adjust his starting lineup to get Boucher and Brooks in at the start because those two have not started in the same game all season.

Boucher leads Oregon with averages of 13.7 points and 2.9 blocked shots per game while grabbing 7.6 rebounds. Brooks is second on the team at 13.6 points per game followed by guard Tyler Dorsey at 13.4.

Junior guard Elijah Stewart leads five Trojans in double figures with 15 points per game, while junior guard Jordan McLaughlin averages 14.4 points and 5.0 assists per game.

Metu leads the team with 7.9 rebounds while scoring 13.5 points per game after he contributed 19 points and eight rebounds in the win over Oregon State.

"Just being patient and taking what the defense gives me," Metu said. "Just playing to my strengths."

Sophomore guard Shaqquan Aaron is averaging 10.2 points per game.

The Trojans are without 6-foot-10 sophomore Bennie Boatwright, who averaged 10.8 points in five games before sustaining a knee sprain that is expected to keep him out until next month.

Oregon has won 12 straight games against USC.



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