After putting up a fight on Friday against the UCLA Bruins, the Washington State Cougars could muster little in the way of resistance against the USC Trojans, falling at the Galen Center in Los Angeles by a score of 89-71.
The game was mostly devoid of drama, save for USC’s Chimezie Metu being ejected with a Flagrant 2 foul after ... well, you can watch:
A Trojan high five from Chimezie Metu. #USC #CupCheck pic.twitter.com/noSCHKarUU— julian chwang (@ChwangJulian) January 1, 2018
At that point, USC held a 14-point lead, and WSU got a little bit of juice from the ejection, going on an 11-0 run to close to within three. But it was short lived, as the Trojans closed the half on a run to extend the lead back out 10.
Even without one of their two best players, the Trojans turned it on in the second half, shooting 69 percent from the field to win going away. It was the Cougars’ two-point defense that proved to be its undoing; USC shot 31-of-46 from inside the arc for the game.
Six different Trojans scored in double figures, led by Elijah Stewart’s 17 points.
Malachi Flynn led WSU with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting (including 3-of-7 from three), adding 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals with zero turnovers. Robert Franks, WSU’s other go-to scorer, struggled; he was just 2-of-7 for 9 points before fouling out.
Carter Skaggs — the victim of Metu’s unprovoked assault — continued his hot shooting, hitting 5-of-11 from three on his way to 18 points. He shot 10-of-19 from beyond the arc on the road trip, and he’s now shooting 52 percent (38 of 73) from deep.
The Cougs return to Pullman at the bottom of the Pac-12, once again searching for answers after dropping their sixth game in the last eight. The problems are particularly pronounced on defense, where WSU gave up an average of 1.25 points per possession — easily worst in the Pac-12 through the first weekend.
Next up for the Cougs is Washington, which comes to Friel Court on Saturday. The Huskies emerged from the Los Angeles trip 1-1 after beating the Trojans on Friday.