It took four years, but Washington State finally found a way to handle Lorenzo Orr.
The Cougars didn’t exactly render Southern California’s all-conference forward entirely ineffective, but they did manage to hold him to 13 points and six rebounds.
And that, coupled with a balanced scoring attack and a return to defensive abandon, was enough to give WSU a relatively easy 84-64 Pacific-10 Conference win over the Trojans.
“We didn’t allow Lorenzo Orr to play comfortably,” Cougars coach Kevin Eastman said after watching his team raise its Pac-10 record to 6-4 and its overall mark to 11-7. “That was important for us. And we did a good job of keeping him off the boards.”
The win avenged an 85-76 road loss to the Trojans (2-8, 7-12) earlier in the year and gave WSU its 13th consecutive win at Friel Court, dating to last year. Orr scored 24 in the earlier meeting between the schools.
“The tendency in the first game when we played them was for him to get a couple of dribbles, like in the pro game when you dribble and back (the defender) down,” Cougars forward Mark Hendrickson said, explaining the game plan for controlling the 6-foot-7 Orr.
“So, we concentrated on doubling down with one of our weakside wing players. That forced it out of his hands and made other guys make the shots.”
All of the added attention afforded Orr did open some opportunities for teammate Jaha Wilson, who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
But WSU, with four players in double figures, had answers for everything the Trojans tried.
“They’re very tough,” said USC’s interim coach, Charlie Parker. “We tried a lot of different things. We had it (WSU’s lead) down to seven with 15 minutes to go, but we gave up some easy baskets and it got away from us.”
Isaac Fontaine led WSU’s scoring with 20 points, but he had plenty of help from Tavares Mack, who added 19, and Hendrickson, who finished with 18.
“We established a tempo early,” said Eastman, whose Cougars are 10-0 at home this season. “That got everybody involved - the players, the crowd, the bench. We really got after them with our pressure.”
The Cougars, who were once again undermanned on the perimeter due to the absence of freshman guard Chris Griffin, who was ill, seemed to be playing a level or two above USC at times and put together several impressive runs that got the crowd of 6,733 into the game early.
But the Trojans managed to hang around until just past the midway point of the second half when a 16-4 WSU run settled the issue.
The Cougars made their decisive spurt without much help from shooting guard Shamon Antrum, who suffered a severe leg cramp and left the game with 5:35 remaining after scoring 13 points.
That left Eastman with only two proven perimeter players, Ellison and Fontaine, so the first-year Cougar coach decided to play big. He put 6-foot-11 senior David Vik on the front line with Hendrickson and Mack, both 6-9, and the lineup worked well.
The Cougars spread out USC’s 3-2 zone by putting four players on the perimeter and letting Mack flash the middle. Mack scored six points during one two-minute stretch and was a horse on the boards all game long, finishing with nine rebounds.
Hendrickson, who alternated with Vik at the No. 3 spot, said he likes the big-lineup look.
“We’re going to do that anyway with Chris out,” he said. “We’re down to just four perimeter players for the three spots, so Dave and I have been working at the (No. 3 guard) spot at practice. It’s a lineup were’ comfortable with.
“As far as Dave and myself, we just have to make adjustments on who we’re guarding - give them a little more space. But I don’t see that as a problem.”
Griffin, who had a throat culture taken Thursday, should find out late today whether his illness is serious. It was thought that he might have strep throat, but if the culture results are negative, he might be able to play in Saturday’s 3 p.m. game against conference co-leader UCLA.
The 6th-ranked Bruins are expected to draw a crowd of more than 10,000.
The game will be televised live by the Raycom network, but no local stations have purchased the rights to air the game so it will not be shown in the Spokane area.
Washington St. 84, Southern Cal 64
SOUTHERN CAL (7-13)
Orr 6-12 1-4 13, Wilson 7-7 1-4 15, Boseman 2-10 3-4 7, Martin 4-8 2-2 11, Harris 0-3 0-0 0, Green 3-9 0-0 8, Reuter 1-4 0-0 2, Slaughter 0-1 0-0 0, Murray 0-3 0-0 0, Crouse 3-4 2-4 8, Douglas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 9-18 64.
WASHINGTON ST. (11-7)
Hendrickson 9-11 0-0 18, Mack 9-11 1-2 19, Fontaine 9-14 1-3 20, Antrum 5-11 2-3 13, Ellison 1-10 4-5 6, Warmenhoven 0-0 0-0 0, Topper 0-0 0-0 0, Bortles 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel 0-1 0-0 0, Corkrum 2-2 0-0 4, Vik 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 37-62 8-13 84.
Halftime-Washington St. 35, Southern Cal 27. 3-Point goals- Southern Cal 3-19 (Boseman 0-3, Martin 1-1, Harris 0-3, Green 2-6, Reuter 0-3, Slaughter 0-1, Murray 0-2), Washington St. 2-10 (Fontaine 1-1, Antrum 1-5, Ellison 0-4). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Southern Cal 36 (Wilson 13), Washington St. 36 (Mack 9). Assists-Southern Cal 8 (Harris, Murray 3), Washington St. 20 (Ellison 13). Total fouls-Southern Cal 17, Washington St. 12. A-6,733.
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