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January 21, 2010

Koprivica Hits Clutch Shots To Propel Wazzu To Win Over USC




After falling behind yet again in the first half and then digging themselves a deeper hole in the second half, the circumstances appeared dire for the Washington State University men's hoop team. But Wazzu stormed back from a 15-point deficit as senior Nikola Koprivica hit clutch treys late in the game to help propel the Cougars to a 67-60 victory over USC in Los Angeles. With the win, Wazzu improves to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the Pac-10.

The first half was tight as neither team was able to get more than a two point separation from each other through the game's first 10 minutes of play. Wazzu sophomore scoring sensation Klay Thompson was on fire in the first half - recording 11 of the Cougars' first 14 points. But then USC scored nine straight points and turned a 14-12 deficit into a 21-14 lead with 7:28 remaining in the half. The Cougars went 6:26 without scoring a field goal, allowing the Trojans to maintain their advantage for much of the remainder of the half while Thompson went cold and true freshman point guard picked up the scoring slack for the Cougars - logging seven of the Cougars' last 10 points of the half. But it was not enough as USC held a double-digit lead at the break, 34-24.

The second half was a complete turnaround as Wazzu - but it got worse before it got better. It began with a dunk from sophomore Marcus Capers to close the gap to eight points. Then USC went on a 7-0 run to take a 15-point lead at 41-26. Wazzu responded with a 12-1 run to cut the lead to four points at 42-38 when senior Nikola Koprivica hit a trey with 12:46 remaining in the game. The Trojans were able to fend off the Cougars for a few more minutes - even extending the lead to eight points at 48-40 with 8:59 remaining in the game. But USC could not hold off the Cougars and Wazzu again came up with a massive point surge, this time, a 14-5 run that ended with Koprivica hitting another trey to give the Cougars the lead at 54-53 with 4:15 remaining. The stunned Trojans could not respond and Wazzu went on to end the game with a 13-7 advantage and record the win over USC to move up in the conference standings.

Three Cougars finished in double digits in scoring, led by Moore with 21 points and followed by Thompson with 20 points and Koprivica with 13.




Wazzu will continue Pac-10 conference play on Saturday, January 23 when they will face UCLA at 1 PM in Los Angeles





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