CORVALLIS — With conference play around the corner, Oregon State is struggling to find an offensive identity.
"Our offensive identity is our defense," said Beaver Omari Johnson after the Beavers clamped down in the second half for a 76-62 win over Mississippi Valley State Saturday night.
Lathen Wallace led all scorers with 17 points, and Seth Tarver had 15 points and eight assists as the Beavers (5-5) snapped a two-game losing skid. Calvin Haynes had 15 points and Johnson had 13.
Shannon Behling had 15 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Burwell had 13 points but six turnovers for the Delta Devils (1-10). Leading scorer Julius Cheeks, the only Devil averaging in double figures (10.5 points a game), had eight points on just 2 of 10 shooting and six assists.
MVSU stayed close in the first half, trailing 28-26 at halftime.But the Beavers went on an 8-0 run to open up the second half, building a cushion that the Devils could never penetrate.
Wallace converted a 3-point play and Johnson cashed in a 3-pointer with 8:21 left to put the Beavers up 58-43.
"Because we still need an offensive identity, we need to have our offense key off our defense," said Oregon State coach Craig Robinson.
The Devils made a late run, outscoring the Beavers 12-6 over a 5-minute stretch. Burwell made two free throws and a finished a fast break with a layup to cut the lead to 64-55.
The Devils made just 5 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Oregon 72, Oakland, Mich. 60
At Eugene, Michael Dunigan had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Oregon used a late run to pull away from Oakland.
Malcolm Armstead and Jeremy Jacob also scored 12 each for the Ducks (6-4), who went up 66-48 following a 16-0 run that featured the ejection of Oakland coach Greg Kampe.
Keith Benson scored 14 for the Golden Grizzlies (6-6), including 12 in the second half.
Trailing for most of the second half, Oakland pulled to within 50-48 on two free throws by Benson with 7:40 to play.
But Garrett Sim and Jamil Wilson connected on back-to-back 3-pointers for Oregon, and Armstead followed with four straight points.
Then Oakland's Derick Nelson appeared to get fouled by E.J. Singler on a drive to the basket with 4:29 to play. Nelson was instead called for a charge, and Kampe was whistled for a technical foul while protesting. Moments later he was whistled for a second technical and ejected.
Singler made all four free throws, and Dunigan scored on the Ducks' ensuing possession to make it 66-48 with 4:05 to play.
Singler finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
USC 77, No. 9 Tennessee 55
At Los Angeles, Alex Stepheson had 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, Mike Gerrity had 12 points and 10 assists, and Southern California routed Tennessee for the Volunteers' worst loss under coach Bruce Pearl.
Gerrity was making his debut for Southern Cal (5-4) after transferring from Charlotte following the first semester of last season. He helped the Trojans build a 24-point lead in the second half, as Southern Cal won its third straight and first against a ranked team.
Washington State 93,Portland State 69
At Kennewick, Wash., Nikola Koprivica scored a career-high 23 points and Klay Thompson also had 23 as Washington State routed Portland State in the Tri-Cities Cougar Classic.
Koprivica was perfect shooting the ball. He finished 6 for 6 from the free-throw line and 6 for 6 from the field, including 5 3-pointers, helping the Cougars (9-2) shoot 81.3 percent (13 for 16) from the beyond the arc.
No. 24 Washington 89,Portland 54
At Seattle, Quincy Pondexter scored 17 points and Washington pressured Portland into 22 turnovers.
Washington (7-2) jumped on the Pilots early with leading scorers Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas giving the Huskies a formidable one-two punch. Pondexter scored inside while Thomas drained two 3-pointers to open up a 16-2 lead over the first 6 minutes.
Notre Dame 84, UCLA 73
At South Bend, Ind., Luke Harangody scored 23 points, four other Notre Dame players scored in double figures and the Fighting Irish shot 60 percent in the second half en route to a win over UCLA.
Harangody missed his first four shots, then went 9-of-15 from the floor the rest of the way.
Northwestern 70, Stanford 62
At Evanston, Ill., John Shurna scored 22 points and Northwestern used aggressive defense to beat mistake-prone Stanford.
Northwestern (9-1) matched its best start in 79 years. The winning streak is its longest since it went 9-0 to start the 1993-94 season. Northwestern had lost its previous four games to Stanford.
Arizona State 55,San Diego State 52
At Tempe, Ariz., Rihards Kuksiks and Jamelle McMillan each had 12 points as Arizona State defeated San Diego State despite blowing most of an 18-point lead in the final 11 minutes.
It was the Sun Devils' (8-3) most impressive victory so far and a rare quality win for the Pac-10, mired in one of its worst seasons in memory.