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USC ends Oregon's unbeaten run

Jan 5, 2007 - 6:34 AM EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- Aaron Brooks' season-best performance was ruined by one free throw.

Nick Young scored 19 points as Southern California held on for an 84-82 victory over No. 17 Oregon, denying the Ducks' bid to match to match the best start in school history.

Brooks, who scored a season-high 31 points, had a chance to tie the game when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with one second to play and USC leading, 84-81.

The senior guard was 15-of-15 from the stripe in his previous three games and had hit his only two against the Trojans. Brooks made the first one to cut the deficit to two, but missed the next and intentionally misfired on the third attempt and the Ducks were unable to corral the long rebound in time to get a shot off.

"They were just routine free throws and I needed to hit all three to tie it up," Brooks said. "The second one felt good but it just hit the back of the rim."

Oregon (13-1, 1-1 Pac-10) was unable to withstand the torrid second-half shooting of USC (12-4, 1-2) and fell a victory short of tying a school record of 14 wins to start a season. The Ducks set that mark in 1926-27 and matched it in 1937-38.

"With only four turnovers and five guys in double figures, you're going to win a lot of games," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "When you allow the other team to shoot 63 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point territory in a single half, that was the difference in the game."

Young finished 8-of-11 to lead the Trojans, who shot 55 percent (31-of-56) from the floor for the game.

Gabriel Pruitt scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half as the Trojans were a scorching 63 percent (17-of-27) after the intermission. Taj Gibson also had 18 points and 13 boards for USC, which won for only the second time in the last nine meetings with Oregon.

The Trojans finished 9-of-19 from the arc, including three apiece by Pruitt and Lodrick Stewart, who scored 14 points.

"We're very fortunate to win this game against a great basketball team," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "I can see why they are undefeated, and they are going to have a great chance to win this league.

"We had some guys play huge. I thought Gabe Pruitt only having one turnover was big for us because we have been turning the ball over a lot lately."

Maarty Leunen had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Ducks but was whistled for a charging foul with five seconds to play, allowing Pruitt to hit one foul shot for the three-point lead.

"They really forced us to play more of a perimeter game, we probably should have taken it inside more," Leunen said. "This is a really disappointing loss for us at home. We didn't execute our game plan but we have to give credit to them, they played and shot the ball really well."