Trojans conquer Cougars

WSU remains winless for Pac-12 conference road games, unable to break losing streak to Trojans

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ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Looking for a gap, sophomore guard CJ Elleby fends off sophomore guard Jamal Bey during the Apple Cup match up on Feb. 9 at Beasley Coliseum. The cougs will face the Golden Bears on Wednesday.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen men's basketball reporter

The WSU men’s basketball team fell to the University of Southern California Trojans 70-51 on Saturday in the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

WSU (14-12, 5-8) remains winless on the road in Pac-12 conference play.

Sophomore forward CJ Elleby led the Cougars in scoring for the 16th time this season while achieving his fifth double-double of the season. He had 22 points on 7 of 18 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds, one board short of tying his career high.

Both teams had key players injured before tip-off. Junior guard Isaac Bonton wasn’t active against the Trojans after suffering a hip injury in overtime against UCLA on Thursday. This was Bonton’s first game missed since Dec. 4 against the University of Idaho.

USC (19-7, 8-5) freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu did not play against WSU as he is still in concussion protocol from the previous week.

Senior guard Jervae Robinson made a 3-pointer to give the Cougars their first basket of the game. This fueled an 8-0 WSU run in the game’s first 90 seconds; WSU held the lead over USC for over 10 minutes.

Junior forward Marvin Cannon checked into game about four and a half minutes into the half. He did not participate against UCLA on Thursday. He finished with four points off the bench against USC.

WSU did not score for over six minutes and allowed USC to tie the game with 9:34 left in the first half. USC gained a 19-17 lead three minutes later.

WSU ended its scoring drought off an acrobatic layup from Cannon and then went another three minutes without scoring. WSU scored four points in the remaining 12 minutes of the half.

USC led WSU 30-21 at halftime with USC redshirt senior guard Daniel Utomi leading the game in scoring with 11 points. Elleby was WSU’s leading scorer at the half with 10 points on four of eight shooting.

WSU started the second half by scoring a little over a minute into the half off a floater from freshman guard Noah Williams in the paint, and then did not score a field goal until 14:08.

Sophomore forward Aljaz Kunc checked into the game with over 16 minutes left on the clock. He recently battled an injury. In the game, he played 11 minutes and scored zero points.

USC gained a 20-point lead with 14:32 left on the clock; Elleby trimmed the lead down to 10 with 9:59 left in the game after making a pair of free throws. However, the Trojans gained another 20-point lead with 5:55 left on the clock.

WSU emptied its bench and contributed eight points in the game, the fewest bench points from WSU since facing Oregon State on Jan. 18.

WSU lost to the Trojans 70-51; this is WSU second lowest point total of the season. Utomi lead the game with 23 points, a new season high, on 8 of 15 from the field.

WSU will face the University of California Golden Bears for the second time this season in at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Beasley Coliseum. The game can be viewed on the Pac-12 Networks.