USC Basketball

USC Defeats Washington State Lead By Onyeka Okongwu

January 2, 2020

Both teams came into tonight’s conference opener on winningh streaks.   USC had won 5 in a row and Washington St. was riding a 6-game win streak.  The Trojans have also won the last 6 meetings between the two schools so something had to give.  For Trojan fans the winning streaks are still alive, even with a less than convincing 65-56 win in Pullman.

It was obvious from the beginning of the game the Cougars were overmatched personnel wise with the Trojans having a huge size advantage down low, as well as just being more athletic . 

Last week Coach Andy Enfield, for precautionary reasons held Onyeka Okongwu out of the game when USC played Florida Gulf Coast so he could rest his tender right foot.  It was a good decision because Okongwu returned with a vengeance, leading all scorers with 27 points...he also contributed 12 rebounds to go with his 3 blocked shots on the game.  If Big O had one flaw tonight it would be his five turnovers.  Not a bad night for the freshman starting his first conference game on the road.  

However, it wasn’t an easy win for the Trojans who turned the ball over 20 times on the night.  

The game itself was an odd one from a statistical sense.  At the half the Trojans lead 31-27 with the Cougars shooting only 25% from the field.   USC’s 4 point lead can be directly traced back to their 11 first half turnovers and the Cougars 12 offensive rebounds.  Washington State also took 39 shots to USC’s 22.  On the night the Cougars would go on to shoot only 28% from the field, making only 22 of 70 shots, including just 6-28 from behind the arc.

While watching the game’s first 10 minutes it looked like the Trojans would cruise to an easy victory after jumping out to an early 13-point lead and it looked easy.  Then the Trojans started playing like they had two freshmen point guards.  

The second half wasn’t much better as the Trojans would turn the ball over 9 more times but for the most part controlled the game thanks to Okongwu’s sixth double-double of the season and some timely free throw shooting from Jonah Matthews who would be the only USC player to score in double figures on the night with 10 points.

Consistency is all the this team lacks to be considered really good.  Right now they are long on potential and short on the consistency.  They’re going to be long on the consistency if they have chance of winning against the Huskies to close out the 2-game road trip to Washington.

Here are some other notes and observations from tonights Trojan win.

**Great perimeter defense to start the game...really no complaints.

**Nick Rakocevic just stole a basket and a potential 3-pt play from his best friend Jonah Matthews with a really dumb tiip in attempt.  The basket was going to count NICK!!!  Stay in the game mentally.  These are the things that frustrate Coach and me too for that matter...Jonah makes both of his FT's

**Portland leading Gonzaga at the half

**Ethan Anderson to Big O for the Alley Oop, Trojans lead  11-5

**The Trojans do not know how to run the break...this time Jonah giving up the ball to Rakocevic in a bad Cougar defender had stopped the ball yet.  I get wanting to reward the big man for runnung the floor but if they dont stop the ball, take it to the rim.

**Lots of  charging calls in the 1ST half...let's see how they call these in the 2nd half

**Great Trojan defense continues the Cougs are 3-18 from the field with 11:00 to go USC leads 22-9

**Nick takes himself out of the game with his 2nd foul

**8 first half TO's is keeping the Cougs in the game 25-23 with 4:25 to go...make that 9 TO's after Big O drops a dunk out of bounds

**Big O playing like an All Americam with 21 points and 8 rebounds at the  11 minute mark of the 2ND half.

**Nick is Casper again on the offensive side of the ball but he is rebounding well tonight.

**Trojans lead 49-43 11:08 to go

**The Trojans now have 16 TO's and the Cougs with only 4

**The Trojans are perhaps the worst fast break team I've seen this floor awareness or lanes to run.  Why are two guys running side by side?

**Poor backcourt play by both freshmen...they’re over penetrating not reading the floor  

**Big O at the 7 minute mark BOOM !  gives him 23 and 11  10-11  from the field too

**The officiating in this game just atrocious.  I cannot recall seeing so many charging calls made in one game.  The refs are allowing physical play up top with no calls but if the offensive player drives they get called for a charge making it a hard game to play.  The art of the pull up jump shot is lost.

**Karma on Nick...this time Big O steals his bucket by touching the rim as the ball is going through the net....Thats 20 TO's  USC leads 54-47 4:15 to play  Wazzu is scrappy however, USC is doing everything in her power to lose this game. 

**11 point lead with 222 to play

**Elijah Weaver with the clincher with the sweet jumper.    Jonah was 4-4 from the FT line then makes 1-2 down the stretch

**Ugly win.  Too many TO's  65-56

**UW lost at home to ucla which means they'll be upset on Sunday when the Trojans come to town.


Tags: Basketball, USC
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