CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State entered the weekend on a three-game losing streak and at a crossroads in its season.
The Beavers exited Saturday with something to build on after a 78-59 win Saturday against USC for a two-game Pac-12 home sweep.
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said he thought the home series against UCLA and USC was the most important two-game stretch of his four years with the Beavers.
"Getting back in the mix a little bit with our confidence was important, and I thought we did that tonight," said Robinson, whose team beat UCLA 87-84 two days earlier.
Jared Cunningham had 18 points and five assists, Devon Collier 12 points and Joe Burton 11 for the Beavers (13-7, 3-5), who got a pregame talk from Oregon State alumnus Gary Payton, an NBA standout from 1990-2007.
"He said to keep working hard and he believes in us, and we're a tough team," Cunningham said of Payton, who has seen the Beavers play in the Los Angeles area numerous times since leaving Oregon State but rarely in Corvallis.
Byron Wesley had 15 points and seven rebounds and Maurice Jones 13 points for the Trojans (5-15, 0-7), who gave up a season high in points.
Cunningham's three-point play with 16:20 remaining gave Oregon State a 47-26 lead. Jones scored four points in a 7-0 USC run that cut the Beavers' lead to 14.
Oregon State answered with four straight points, including a thunderous dunk by Cunningham off a steal. The Trojans got no closer than 13 afterward.
USC had not allowed more than 66 points this season. Oregon State got its 67th point on Angus Brandt's free throw with 4:02 left. Oregon State was held below its 82.9 scoring average, which was sixth-best in the country entering Saturday.
The Beavers shot 30 of 59 (50.8 percent) from the floor, while the Trojans were 25 of 50 (50 percent). Oregon State had a 36-27 rebounding edge, including a game-high 11 by Eric Moreland.
The Beavers equaled their average of 10 steals per game, which is second in the country.
Cunningham scored seven points in a 16-2 first-half run that put the Beavers up 18-8.
Collier dunked off a Cunningham assist to give Oregon State its biggest lead of the first half, 35-19.
Oregon State led 36-22 at halftime after forcing 12 USC turnovers.