Reserve Elias Ayuso scored the first four points in overtime to put Southern California on top for good Saturday as the Trojans defeated Washington State 75-69 to snap a four-game losing streak.
Ayuso, who scored all nine of his points after halftime, got the Trojans going with a layup with 3:47 remaining and two free throws 21 seconds later to give USC a 60-56 lead.
Freshman Kevin Augustine, who led the Trojans with 15 points and seven rebounds, scored four straight points to put USC on top 67-61 with a little over a minute left. The Cougars, who have lost five straight games and eight of their last nine, weren’t closer than five points after that.
Freshman Greg Lakey scored all of his career-high 14 points after halftime and had eight rebounds for USC (7-12, 3-6 Pac-10), which had lost 11 of its previous 13 games.
Carlos Daniel led WSU (8-12, 1-8) with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Kojo Mensah-Bonsu scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and had 10 rebounds, and Blake Pengelly had 10 points and seven assists for the Cougars.
USC held a 53-45 lead - equaling the largest of the game for either team - before the Cougars ran off nine straight points to go ahead 54-53 with 3:55 remaining.
Jeff Trepagnier’s follow shot with 3:20 left put USC back on top 55-54, but Mensah-Bonsu made a short jumper with 2:58 to play, giving the Cougars a one-point lead.
Lakey made a foul shot with 1:17 remaining to make it 56-all, and neither team scored in regulation after that, forcing the overtime.
WSU led 25-23 at halftime. Both teams were especially inept offensively in the final 7 minutes of the half. After Trepagnier’s two foul shots with 7:23 left gave USC a 21-17 lead, the Cougars outscored the Trojans 8-2 to finish the half.
USC swingman Ken Sims, who has started 10 games this season, was suspended for the game for violating a team rule. He is averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds.