Oregon pulls away from USC, 78-63

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LOS ANGELES — Eight months will pass before USC plays again at the Galen Center.

Trojans fans, and Athletic Director Pat Haden, can only hope the results are different in Andy Enfield’s second season as coach.

On a day when USC honored members of the 1954 men’s basketball team, the last one in school history to reach the NCAA Final Four, USC’s 78-63 loss to Oregon on Saturday once again reminded it could be awhile before the Trojans return to the NCAA tournament.

The defeat, USC’s 10th in a row, dropped the Trojans to 10-19 overall and 1-15 in conference play.

USC finished 8-8 at the Galen Center, including 1-8 in Pac-12 games. The Trojans’ only conference home victory came more than a month ago against California.

In 2012-13, Kevin O’Neill’s final season as coach, the Trojans were 10-6 at home, including 6-3 in conference games.

“We played really well in certain games for 30 minutes and had a chance to win if we would have executed down the stretch,” said Enfield, adding, “at the same time when you only win one home game you’re not too excited about it. But I am proud of our effort.”

USC has at least three games remaining.

The Trojans conclude conference play at Washington State on Thursday and at Washington on Saturday. The Pac-12 tournament begins March 12 at Las Vegas.

“We want to go out there and win and try get some momentum going into the tournament,” said senior guard Pe’Shon Howard, who scored a team-best 20 points against Oregon.

Can the Trojans surprise opponents in the tournament?

“We’ll have nothing to lose,” Howard said. “The pressure won’t be on us. It will be on every team we play.”

Howard scored 16 points in the first half Saturday as the Trojans played to a 36-36 tie. The score was 58-58 with slightly more than 10 minutes left in the game when the Ducks began to pull away.

Howard committed three turnovers and the Trojans could not contain Oregon forward Mike Moser, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Ducks improved to 20-8 overall and 8-8 in conference play.

As part of Senior Day festivities, Enfield started an all-senior lineup of Howard, guards J.T. Terrell and Daniel Munoz, forward D.J. Haley and center Omar Oraby.

USC junior guard Byron Wesley entered the game with 12:23 left in the first half and finished with 12 points.

Enfield expects marked improvement at home next season.

“Our players do know and will know what they need to do in the off-season to improve,” he said, “and we intend to be a much better team next year.”

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