Trojans take on Cougars for right to play in Pac-10 title game
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The 11th-ranked Washington State Cougars are
seeded second in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament, and they have reached the
semifinal round where they will face off against the third-seeded USC Trojans.
Awaiting the winner of this showdown is a championship matchup with either
fourth-seeded Oregon or eighth-seeded California.
USC showed a great deal of heart in last night’s 83-79 decision over Stanford
in one of many memorable overtime games on the college basketball docket. At
22-10, the Trojans have made a strong case for an at-large bid to the NCAA
Tournament regardless of tonight’s outcome. They have never won the Pac-10
Tournament, one of five league members that can make that claim.
Washington State is also in search of its first title, and this season’s group
of Cougars may be the best in program history. They are coming off last night’s
74-64 triumph over rival Washington, the tournament’s seventh seed.
Washington State beat USC twice during the regular season by a total of five
points, but the Trojans still own a 63-39 lead in the all-time series.
USC depends heavily on dynamic forward Nick Young to be productive every time
he takes the floor, and the standout came through with 26 points in the victory
over Stanford last night. Gabe Pruitt pitched in 17 points and eight assists
for the Trojans, who trailed 42-31 at intermission. Fortunately, they were able
to use runs of 10-1 and 10-2 to get back into the game and force overtime. In
the extra session, USC never trailed, as it hit 3-of-5 shots from the floor and
8-of-10 from the foul line to claim the victory. The Trojans were able to
advance despite being outscored 30-14 in the paint and 23-11 off turnovers.
Young is scoring 17.8 ppg this season on 53.1 percent shooting from the field,
and he is undoubtedly one of the most talented offensive performers in the
Taylor Rochestie was outstanding for Washington State in the win over
Washington last night, as he finished with 20 points for the Cougars. Derrick
Low pitched in 15 points in the victory, the eighth in the last 10 outings for
WSU. Robbie Cowgill managed 14 points for the Cougars, and Kyle Weaver added 13
points. Washington State jumped out to an early 9-2 advantage, and although the
game was tied at 54-54 with just under eight minutes to play, the Cougars
dominated play down the stretch. Low carried an average of 13.5 ppg into last
night’s affair, while Weaver closed out the regular season with averages of
11.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.7 apg and 2.2 spg.