Julian Jacobs skies over Que Johnson

USC Extends Home Win Streak to 12

LOS ANGELES - Could the Washington State Cougars End the Undefeated Home Record  of the USC Trojans? 
Ike Iroegbu contorts for a beautiful lay up

Ike Iroegbu twists his way to the rim for a beautiful lay up. (Photo credit: Michael Ewing)

On Thursday night, the Washington State Cougars arrived at the Galen Center in with one objective in mind, to hand the Trojans their third straight loss to a conference opponent. Coming into the game, the Cougars were just 1-6 in conference play and were holding down the bottom spot in the Pac-12. The Trojans entered the game unbeaten at home this season, with a 5-3 conference record and a 16-5 overall mark. The Cougars would soon find out that there is a reason the Trojans are undefeated at home this year, as the Trojans pulled away late for the 81-71 victory. Coming out of the gate both teams looked like they had something to prove. USC and WSU made bucket after bucket, due in large part to the fact that neither team was engaged on the defensive end. Cougar guard Ike Ireogbu lit up the Trojans with 16 points and 3 assists in the first half, while Katin Reinhardt led the way for the Trojans with 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. With just over four minutes remaining in the half, USC stepped up their defense and went on a 14-2 run. Up until the Trojans run the game was neck and neck, seeing 14 lead changes and 16 ties, but thanks to their late surge  the Trojans led at the break, 52-41. To start the second half the Cougars came out red hot on the offensive side of the ball, but they couldn't figure out how to slow the Trojan offense. Both teams traded buckets until the 8 minute mark when the  Cougar defense stepped it up a notch, sparking them to a 10-0 run which brought the game to within 6 points. Right as the Cougars got into striking distance the Trojans made several key defensive stops and hit some big time jumpers as Reinhardt again led the way, finishing with 18 points.  
Freshman Chimezie Metu flies high for the slam

Freshman Chimezie Metu flies high for the slam. (Photo credit: Michael Ewing)

When the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard read 81-71 and the Trojans had managed to extend their home win streak to 12 games, the longest USC home win streak to begin a season since 1943 . Even with the big night from Iroegbu and Hawkinson, who led the Cougars with a combined 37pts, 14 rebs and 7 assists, the well rounded Trojans came out ahead. Chimezie Metu, Nikola Jovanovic, Bennie Boatman, Elijah Stewart, and Katin Reinhardt all ended the game with double figures in points for the Trojans. Looking ahead to Saturday, the Trojans will be facing a much more formidable opponent in the University of Washington Huskies, who are currently tied with the Oregon Ducks atop the Pac-12. On the other side, the Cougars will be looking to take down the UCLA Bruins. As it stands, the Bruins are 3-5 in conference; so if the Cougars can bring the offensive game they displayed tonight, paired with a stronger defensive showing, they have a chance to pick up a nice road victory.  
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