USC basketball (22-8) notched a much-needed victory over Washington State (13-16) at the Galen Center on Wednesday night to end a four-game losing streak, 87-64.
The lowdown: Chimezie Metu opened the scoring for USC, but it was Bennie Boatwright and Jordan McLaughlin’s three-pointers which boosted the Trojans to an 8-4 lead early.
A trio of layups stretched USC’s advantage to 14-5 in the first five minutes at the Galen Center.
McLaughlin’s second made three of the night, along with contributions from Jonah Mathews off the bench made it 22-7.
The Cougars took advantage of some empty possessions from the Trojans to cut the deficit back to single digits, but USC responded with a nine-unanswered points including a Metu dunk on a fastbreak and another McLaughlin triple.
Washington State turnovers limited the Cougars ability to get back in the game while USC continually made them pay for mistakes. Nick Rakocevic got in on the action with back-to-back three-point plays drawing fouls under the basket with five minutes left in the half.
When Boatwright’s second three-pointer swirled in, USC doubled the Cougars’ points total at 43-21.
At halftime, the Trojans maintained their 20-point advantage with a 48-28 lead.
Boatwright opened the second half with a triple and USC’s momentum didn’t let up as a steal from De’Anthony Melton set up a Metu dunk to put the Trojans up by 24.
Midway through the half, Elijah Stewart — who didn’t start for the first time for USC this season — turned up the energy in the Galen Center with a reverse alley-oop dunk to make it 74-49.
With the result all but secured, the final minutes of the game hinged on whether or not McLaughlin would grab the single rebound he needed to log a triple-double. However, USC cleared the bench with a minute to go.
The Trojans came away with an 87-64 victory.
The takeaway: It was a must-win game for the Trojans and they treated it like it. From the start, USC outmatched Washington State on both ends of the floor.
That’s the kind of response Andy Enfield will have been looking for from his team, getting their groove back after a four-game skid.
McLaughlin led the way with 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, hitting on 4-of-7 three-point attempts.
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
Along with McLaughlin, USC had four players manage double-digit scoring, including Metu, Boatwright and Mathews. The Trojans shot 53 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from distance.
On the other side, Washington State finished with 14 turnovers.
Stat of the game: McLaughlin was one rebound away from becoming just the second USC player to log a triple-double. The first was Daniel Hackett in 2007.
Next on tap: The Trojans will look to finish off the regular season with another needed result against Washington at the Galen Center at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.