Wazzu Holds Off Trojans

The Washington State University men's hoop team seemed on the verge of running away from USC in the first half and had to hold off a 51-point Trojan second half comeback attempt to come away with an 85-77 victory over USC at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman. With the win, Wazzu improves to 9-8 in conference play and 19-10 overall and keeps alive their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
Wazzu opened the game up with a 7-2 spurt as junior forward DeAngelo Casto started the Cougar scoring and was followed by junior Abe Lodwick with a three-ball and sophomore point guard Reggie Moore with a bucket. Wazzu added four more to their lead when junior Marcus Capers tossed in a free throw and junior shooting guard Klay Thompson added a trey for his first bucket of the evening.
USC closed the gap to five points but Wazzu would not allow the Trojans any closer in the half, slamming the door with an 8-2 run that gave them a comfortable 11-point margin at 18-7. Wazzu would keep their lead in double digits for the majority of the remainder of the first half and opened up their biggest lead in the period at 17 points when Thompson hit a pair of free throws to give Wazzu a commanding 41-24 lead. USC managed to score before the break and Wazzu went into the locker room with a 15-point advantage.
The Trojans came out of the locker room firing and USC quickly cut the lead down to single digits at 44-37 with 16:11 to go in the game. But Wazzu pushed the lead back out to double digits with a bucket from Thompson and a trey from junior Faisal Aden to make it 49-37. From there, the game traveled back and forth from a single digit Wazzu lead to a double digit Wazzu lead, but holding a 10-point lead, USC finally closed to within a single point at 60-59, on back-to-back-to-back treys with 7:48 left in the game. Thompson finally broke the streak with a trey of his own but USC responded with their fourth made three-ball in a row to once again cut the Cougar lead to one at 63-62 with 6:58 remaining in the game.
Five consecutive points from Casto gave Wazzu a six-point cushion again at 68-62 with 5:49 left in the game but USC would not go away and cut the Cougar lead back down to three points at 73-70 with 3:19 left in the game. But the Trojans could not get over the hump and Wazzu pulled away with a game-ending 12-7 run.
- Casto led the Cougars with a double-double - 24 points and 10 rebounds while Thompson, the Pac-10's leading scorer, finished the evening with 22 points. Additionally, after the win, Thompson was cited by Pullman police for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
- Moore sprained an ankle in the first half and did not play in the second half.
Washington State University finishes their Pac-10 regular season with a game against UCLA at 2:30PM on Saturday, March 5, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest
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