Jackson Shelstad, Oregon start hot, run past USC

Jackson Shelstad scored 20 points and Kario Oquendo contributed 12 points, five assists and five rebounds as Oregon earned a 78-69 win over Southern California on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Shelstad, the Ducks’ third-leading scorer on average this season even though he hadn’t reached double figures in the past four games, got his team off to a good start, and the Ducks had too much depth and firepower for the undermanned Trojans.

Oregon (15-6, 7-3 Pac-12) held on to a share of first place in the conference with No. 11 Arizona after the Wildcats’ win over Cal earlier in the evening.

USC (8-13, 2-8) lost its sixth straight game, and the Ducks improved to 18-7 against the Trojans since Dana Altman became Oregon’s coach.

Boogie Ellis had 17 points for the Trojans, and Oziyah Sellers scored 12. Bronny James, the son of NBA star LeBron James, had six points and a team-high seven assists in 22 minutes off the USC bench.

The game opened with a lot of scoring before the first media timeout 6:10 into the contest. Oregon made 4 of 6 3-point attempts in that stretch, with Shelstad supplying 10 early points on 4-of-4 shooting, and USC hit six of its first nine shots.

Shelstad improved to 6-for-6 and had two assists before missing a shot for the first time nearly nine minutes into the contest.

USC led for seven seconds in the opening minute, then trailed all the way until the 4:39 mark of the first half. Arrinten Page knocked down a long jumper in transition to tie the score at 35.

The Trojans shot well throughout much of the first half but went cold over the last few minutes with one made basket over their last nine attempts before halftime. The Ducks took a 46-39 lead into the break with 15 points from Shelstad and 10 from Jermaine Couisnard.

Things unraveled quickly for USC in the second half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Shelstad and Brennan Rigsby gave the Ducks a 62-46 lead, and Oregon went up 74-56 on a trey from Jadrian Tracey with 4:30 to play.

The Trojans scored 11 unanswered points to make it a seven-point game with 59 seconds left, as Oregon went more than 3 1/2 minutes without a point. But all of that was too little, too late for USC.