Kevin O’Neill’s squad took out some much needed frustration last Saturday against the Pac-12’s newest team, the Utah Utes, beating them by a surprising score of 62-45. The win was the Trojans’ first in the Pac-12 and sends the team into the Evergreen State looking to capitalize on their new found confidence. Washington State plays host to USC tonight, and they come into the game having been swept on the road by both Arizona schools last weekend.The Cougars have won three in a row at home and nine of their last 10, despite a 3-6 conference record, which is good for ninth, while the Trojans are dead last with a 1-8 record and haven’t won on the road since November.
If the Trojans are to compete tonight, they’ll have to control the 6’10” Australian, Brock Motum. Motum leads the Cougars in most offensive categories, and dropped 34 in Tempe last Saturday in a loss to Arizona State. He’s really stood out in his first season as a starter and producer in the Cougars offense, but has struggled on the glass, averaging just 6.5 boards per game and had just two rebounds in an Apple Cup game agianst Washington two weeks ago.
Motum’s lack of rebounding efficiency serves as a lifeline for the Trojans, as without Aaron Fuller and Dewayne Dedmon, USC had just 24 rebounds in their dismantling of Utah which didn’t help their standing as the 343rd team in the country in rebounding. With the 6’6″ Garrett Jackson playing the four for the Trojans, USC lacks the physicality to stand up to Motum. James Blasczyk has been forced into a starting role along with Jackson, and together they leave much to be desired down low as mainstays on the floor.
Overall, the Trojans will have their hands full tonight in the paint, while Maurice Jones, Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley match well with the Cougars’ perimeter game, making the lack of an answer to Brock Motum a very tall task for the Trojans to overcome, up in Pullman.
at Washington State Cougars
Location: Pullman, Washington
Arena: Bradley Performing Arts Coliseum
Records: Washington State 11-10 (3-6 in the Pac-12, 9th)
USC 6-16 (1-8 in the Pac-12, 12th)
Tale of the Tape
Team Points per game: WSU 71.0, USC 54.4
Team Rebounds per game: WSU 32.9, USC 28.1
Team shooting percentage: WSU .472, USC .402
Washington State Leading Scorer: Brock Motum, 16.4 PPG
Washington State Leading Rebounder: Brock Motum, 6.5 RPG
USC Leading Scorer: Maurice Jones, 14.5 PPG
USC Leading Rebounder:
Aaron Fuller, 5.9 RPG