Stewart scores 17 as USC beats Washington State 89-71
LOS ANGELES — Elijah Stewart 17 scored and Bennie Boatwright added 13 points to lead Southern California to an 89-71 victory over Washington State in a Pac-12 game on Sunday night.
After starting the season 6-0, WSU (8-6, 0-2) has lost six of its last eight games. The Cougars have lost five straight to USC (10-5, 1-1).
Nick Rakocevic scored 12 points and had nine rebounds, Jonah Mathews added 11 points and Jordan Usher scored 10 for the Trojans. Jordan McLaughlin, who came in averaging 7.8 assists per game (No. 5 in the nation), finished with 10 points and 11 assists on Sunday.
Malachi Flynn led the Cougars with 21 points and Carter Skaggs had 18.
USC never trailed, went on an 11-0 run that gave the Trojans a 13-point lead fewer than six minutes in and held the Cougars scoreless for a five-plus minutes in the opening half. Stewart capped the surge by converting two free throws with 14:18 remaining and USC led 17-4.
Chimezie Metz, USC’s leading scorer, was disqualified from the game after committing a flagrant foul against Skaggs with 5:43 left in the first half. Metz, averaging 18.6 points per game, left the game after scoring 7 points and with USC leading 33-19.
WSU immediately went on an 11-0 run and cut its deficit to three points following a basket by Flynn with 2:56 to go in the half. But the Trojans countered with an 8-2 run to end the half and built 41-31 lead at the break.
Stewart led USC with 10 points in the first half as the Trojans shot 43.2 percent. The Cougars shot 34.5 percent and were led by Robert Franks with 9 points.
WSU trimmed the lead to 52-44 after a 3-pointer by Flynn early in the second half, but Shaqquan Aaron’s 3-pointer highlighted a Trojans 17-2 run, which propelled USC to a 69-46 lead with 10 minutes to play. USC cruised from that point.
The Trojans, who outrebounded WSU 39-26, are 74-48 all-time against WSU.
WSU: “USC is a veteran team and they are going to make us play possession by possession,” Cougars coach Ernie Kent said. “You can’t duplicate that in practice, we just have to go through the experience.” Skaggs has made 10 of 19 3’s in the last two games. Freshman forward Drick Bernstine, WSU’s leading rebounder this season, returned after missing one game due to an injury and grabbed 7 rebounds.
USC: The Trojans completed a stretch of 8 games in the last 18 days, going 6-2. USC has scored 80 or more points in 8 of their last 9 games. Sophomore Derryck Thornton returned to action for the first time since he suffered a dislocated right shoulder in practice on Nov. 28 and scored two points.
WSU: The Cougars open a three-game home stand beginning Saturday against Washington.
USC: The Trojans travel to Berkley and take on Cal on Thursday.
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