Trojans set to visit Beasley

WSU has lost last ten meetings with USC, last home win came in March 2013

WSU+guard+Noah+Williams+%2824%29+celebrates+beneath+the+hoop+during+a+college+basketball+game+against+UC+Santa+Barbara+on+Nov.+15%2C+2021%2C+at+Beasley+Coliseum.

HAILEE SPEIR

WSU guard Noah Williams (24) celebrates beneath the hoop during a college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 15, 2021, at Beasley Coliseum.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen reporter

The Cougar men’s basketball team (6-1) travels back to the Palouse with hopes of ending No. 20 USC’s flawless 7-0 start to the season at 3 p.m. Saturday in Beasley Coliseum.

WSU comes into the USC matchup fresh off of their first Pac-12 win of the season against Arizona State. WSU won the low-scoring game 51-29, showing promising defense. The Cougs look to continue their defensive success against the Trojans who run an inside-the-paint style of offense. 

USC is coming off a 93-73 win against Utah. In the Pac-12 game, Isaiah Mobley led USC to victory, keeping their flawless season alive. Mobley put up 21 points in the Trojan win.

“They’re really well-coached and a sound team,” WSU head coach Kyle Smith said.

The game will be a great way to gauge how well the young WSU forwards perform against a high-level opponent. The young forwards include Dishon Jackson, Mouhamed Gueye and Efe Abogidi. 

“They don’t beat themselves,” Smith said about USC. “They’re really big around the rim. It’s gonna be a battle.”

Jackson is coming off an impressive double-double game against the Sun Devils where his presence was felt through his 10 points on offense, as well as through his 10 rebounds in the paint. 

Gueye has had a rough last couple of games, responsible for zero points in the loss to Eastern Washington and five points against Arizona State. Gueye will need to step up to the table in order for WSU to be successful guarding against USC’s strong offense around the net. 

Abogidi has become a staple of WSU’s game plan, impacting the ball both on offense and defense this season. Through the first seven games, Abogidi is averaging five rebounds and two blocks.

The game is projected to be an even matchup, with ESPN’s Basketball Power Index giving the Cougs a 49.4 percent chance of coming away with the win. 

Trying to stop WSU from adding another win to their record will be USC’s Boogie Ellis, Chevez Goodwin and Mobley.

Ellis leads the Trojans in points per game this season with 15.1 points. Ellis is also a component of USC’s rebounding game, averaging four rebounds per game this season. 

Ellis is followed closely by Goodwin, who averages 12.1 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. Goodwin is a major part of USC’s offense due to his ability to make difficult shots in the post. Goodwin will likely be matched up against Jackson as Jackson plays with a more aggressive style than other big men such as Abogidi and Gueye.

“They’ll have a certain confidence about them,” Smith said. “We played them pretty well last year and they were really good, so it’ll take a similar defensive effort, and obviously, we’re going to have to make a few more shots.”

Mobley leads USC in rebounds this year with 9.7 rebounds per game and 13.4 points per game. The 6-foot-10 forward is able to use his large stature to gain space close to the bucket. If Mobley is able to continue contributing to USC’s offense, the Cougars are in for a very difficult challenge.

Fans that can’t make it to Beasley can tune into the game on the Pac-12 Network.