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Cougs can't hold back Trojan dunks, drop to 0-1

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USC dunked all over Washington State and it wasn't nearly as pretty as the final score would indicate.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Based on the lack of action both here and on social media, I'm assuming most of you forgot the Cougs opened conference play in men's basketball this evening.  It was probably for the best.

The USC Trojans did whatever they wanted to Washington State, ultimately winning by 13.  I know the final score does not indicate the definitive statements I'm making, but you'll have to go with me on this one.

Over the first four to five minutes, Katin Reinhardt and Julian Jacobs had little to no problem putting the ball on the floor and getting layups, along with some easier putbacks from Nikola Jovanovich, getting out to a 12-4 lead.  The scarier part is it could've been worse, as USC missed three open layups in the process.  Meanwhile, WSU wasn't able to get much of anything going offensively, missing 11 of its first 13 shots.

SC's domination continued with their second line, as Jordan McLaughlin scored nine straight Trojan points to extend their lead to 26-12 by the midway point of the first half.  WSU had four turnovers and five field goals.

Oh you thought we were done with the slaughter?  It continues!  The following four possessions:

WSU Turnover - USC Dunk

WSU Turnover - USC Dunk

WSU Turnover - USC Dunk

WSU Turnover - USC Dunk

USC led 40-16 at the seven minute mark.  To recap: The Trojans were able to crack open a 24 point lead in thirteen minutes.

The Cougs couldn't get a stop in the first half.  They couldn't score to save their lives.  And they turned the ball over without any regard for humanity.

Josh Hawkinson led the Cougs on a 10-2 run to close the half and WSU found themselves only down 17 going into the locker rooms.

Only 17.

The second half saw more of the same happen over the first ten minutes: WSU unable to get stops; WSU unable to take care of the ball; WSU did shoot well though, keeping up with the Trojans basket for basket.

Down 20, a lineup of Hawkinson, Junior Longrus, Bret Boese, Renard Suggs and Ike Iroegbu went on a tear and brought the team within 13 by the three minute mark.  But while USC left a window open, the Cougs refused to walk through it, turning the ball over on consecutive possessions, ultimately ending their chance at a miracle comeback.

USC had five players in double-figures, led by Jordan McLaughlin, who had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting.  I don't know if there is a stat on dunks somewhere, but the Trojans had roughly 137 of them, and may be fulfilling the promise of Andy Enfield's Dunk City offense.

On the Cougar side of the ball, Hawkinson had another Hawkinson performance, dropping 19 points and 13 rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting.  If you're looking for someone more under the radar, I continue to be impressed by the bits we see of Derrien King, who I hope survives the eventual April roster turnover bonanza we'll see this Spring.

Credit to the Cougs for making the score look respectable to those who didn't see the game, but this was ugly.  Really really ugly.  Up next for WSU are the Bruins of UCLA, who bring in a Top 25 team to Beasley on Sunday night.  The Cougs have had UCLA's number in Pullman for the past few years, so anything could happen, but they'll have to put up a much much better effort in the first half than they did tonight.

Go Cougs.