PULLMAN — Byron Wesley scored 20 second half points — ending the night with 31 — as Southern California beat Washington State 79-68 on Thursday to end a 10-game losing streak.
“It has been a frustrating year, as far as wins and losses goes. I think we have been playing hard and these guys deserved this win tonight,” USC Coach Andy Enfield said.
This is the first road win for Southern California, now playing for the eleventh seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament. If Washington State and USC both lose on Saturday, the tie would go to USC for the spot in the tournament.
Southern California (11-19, 2-15 Pac-12) outscored Washington State 40-20 in the paint and out-rebounded the Cougars 40-34.
DaVonte Lacy had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and went 7 of 8 from the foul line, for Washington State (9-20, 2-15 Pac-12) to lead four Cougars in double figures.
D.J. Shelton added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his eleventh double-double of the season.
Southern California started the game with a quick 10-2 lead, but Washington State ended the half with a 36-35 edge. The Cougars came out in the second with back-to-back 3-pointers from Lacy and Dexter Kernich-Drew to jump out to a nine-point lead, 44-35, at the 18 minute mark.
The Cougars offense looked to be in rhythm, but the Trojans defense stopped the run and quickly erased the lead with a 16-2 run of their own to go ahead 51-46 with 12:46 left. Wesley scored nine of the Trojans’ points in the run.
“The tempo favored them, and they made shots — tough shots — and we didn’t,” Washington State Coach Ken Bone Said. “That stretch really hurt us.”
WSU went cold from the field and struggled with the Trojans press.
“It was a good first half. We changed some things up in the second half, made some changes and ramped up the energy and the press worked,” Enfield said.
The Trojans extended the run to 21-6 for a 67-52 lead with 6:45 remaining. Washington State hit only two from the field in the stretch.
Washington State shot 44 percent in the first half and only 29 percent from the field (9 of 31) in the second half. USC shot 54 percent in the second half (51 percent overall) and hit four of nine from the 3-point line.
This is the eighth straight loss for Washington State.