USC basketball vs. Washington score, recap: Trojans handled on road again

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC basketball continued their struggles away from the Galen Center on Wednesday night in a 75-62 road loss to Pac-12 leader Washington.

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The lowdown:

The night didn’t start or end right for the Trojans. USC allowed Washington to jump out to an 13-4 lead, as Nick Rakocevic fouled a three-point shooter and then the Trojans gave up back-to-back triples and a dunk.

Rakocevic was the spark on the other end though. He started a 9-0 run with a dunk and-one facilitated by Elijah Weaver. Bennie Boatwright’s free throws finished the run to make it 15-13.

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The Trojans struggled to get closer than two points and a three-minute scoring drought opened the door for the Huskies to open their lead back up. A steal and fastbreak dunk by Matisse Thybulle helped UW push it back to 26-16 with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Washington led by as many as 16, attained emphatically by a Nahziah Carter putback. Bennie Boatwright ultimately salvaged the end of the half by knocking down USC’s first three-pointer with 1:24 remaining. Another jumper from the forward was matched by Noah Dickerson’s final second layup as the Huskies took a 36-25 lead into the break.

Early in the second half, USC mounted a comeback. Jonah Mathews’ three-pointer and Shaqquan Aaron’s driving scoop-and-score basket propelled an 8-0 run for the Trojans. They got as close as 38-35.

However, Washington had a response. Jaylen Nowell picked Rakocevic’s pocket on a fastbreak and lobbed the ball back to Dickerson for a quick score, then David Crisp knocked down a three to push it back to a nine-point deficit.

Kevin Porter Jr. came alive for the Trojans, first with an alley-oop dunk from Weaver, then with a stepback three-pointer. He also assisted a Boatwright layup as USC clawed back to within five at 54-49.

Again, the Huskies answered back, regaining a double-digit advantage on triples from Dominic Green and Nowell following two Trojan turnovers.

USC’s efforts to close the gap for good fell short in the end. Washington rode an 8-0 run in the final minutes to reclaim a 16-point lead and put the game away. The Huskies would go on to win 75-62.

The takeaway:

Wednesday night’s game was all about continuing trends. While Washington remained undefeated in conference, USC remained without a victory on the road in the 2018-19 season.

Recent victories for the Trojans have shown the power of the Boatwright-Rakocevic duo, but solid showings from both of those weren’t enough to power USC to a win this time. Boatwright finished with 24 points, leading all scorers. Rakocevic posted yet another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. However, he also committed four turnovers and fouled out.

In the end, role players were not active enough in the proceedings. The efforts of Boatwright and Rakocevic were more than matched by Washington’s Thybulle and Dickerson. The former had 17 points, seven steals and two blocks while the latter put up 21 points with 14 rebounds. The Huskies also enjoyed strong outings from Crisp and Nowell, who were the difference compared to the Trojans’ other contributors.

Coming off a bright run in recent weeks, Jonah Mathews managed 10 points with five turnovers and just one assist. Derryck Thornton avoided the turnover bug which plagued many of his teammates, but he only had two points and three assists.

Porter Jr. had his moments, finishing with six points and a team-best four assists. However, he was 1-of-4 from the free throw line and committed four fouls.

Arguably the most telling stat of the night was on the boards. Washington out-rebounded USC 40-28. With 17 offensive rebounds, the Huskies scored 24 second-chance points.

Next on tap: USC may have better luck finding their first road win against Washington State on Saturday, February 2 at 4:00 p.m.