DJ Rodman had the type of emphatic block that would typically be met with loud cheers in front of a home crowd. Instead, the half-full Galen Center crowd sat silent with USC on the way to another loss.
In this season, USC hasn’t given its fans much to cheer about.
Once ranked among the top 25, the Trojans slipped further into oblivion Thursday with a 78-69 loss to Oregon . USC’s losing streak stretched to six, its longest since losing nine in a row in 2015.
Boogie Ellis had 17 points to lead the Trojans, who had no answers for Oregon’s Jackson Shelstad. The freshman made his first six shots of the game and finished with 20 points and six assists to lead five Oregon players in double-digit scoring.
The Trojans (8-13, 2-8 Pac-12) showed late signs of life by cutting an 18-point Oregon lead to seven in the final minute. With the chance to save face by whittling the deficit more, the Trojans missed three consecutive three pointers and one late layup on one possession.
Fans, at least the few remaining in the stands, could only laugh in disbelief when Oregon (15-6, 7-3 Pac-12) corralled the final defensive rebound.
USC touts unprecedented success in recent seasons under coach Andy Enfield. The coach often notes that the program’s 95 wins in the last four seasons are a school record. But even three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, several NBA draft picks and the program’s first appearance in the Elite Eight in 20 years weren’t enough to carve out a space in the crowded L.A. sports market. Facing a move to the much tougher Big Ten next season, the Trojans risk falling even further into the abyss.
USC had an opportunity to capitalize on the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation this season with freshman guards Isaiah Collier and Bronny James. While James’ box office impact is clear, his impact on the court has been more modest since recovering from a sudden cardiac arrest in the summer. He had six points and seven assists Thursday off the bench.
Collier, who has missed the last four games with a fractured right hand, will be out for at least another week and a half.