PULLMAN – Washington State had one final possession and 5 seconds on the game clock after a missed USC free throw Saturday.
Forward Noah Williams couldn’t convert his 3-point attempt and the 20th-ranked Trojans remained undefeated with a 63-61 Pac-12 Conference raod win.
“We were smart enough to foul and give ourselves 6 seconds there. (USC) missed and we still had a shot in Noah’s hands,” WSU coach Kyle Smith said. “He’s made a lot of big ones, like in the Stanford game. He just wasn’t as fortunate tonight.”
Washington State (6-2, 1-1 Pac-12) put up a tough fight. Guard TJ Bamba had one of the game’s most crucial moments, 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 61-60 lead with 35 seconds left.
USC (8-0, 2-0) let its offense fly. Forward Chevez Goodwin gave the Trojans a 63-61 lead with a three-point play with 16 seconds left.
Washington State took an early lead and the energy in Beasley Coliseum became electric after guard Jefferson Koulibaly nailed a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired for a 17-16 lead midway through the first half.
After a key defensive play by the Cougars, forward DJ Rodman responded with another three-point play. Bamba capped a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer for a 23-16 lead with 9:27 left in the half.
The Trojans outscored WSU 6-2 during the final 2 minutes of the half to trail 32-30
The second half started out a bit differently; the Trojans had the Cougars’ defense scrambling at the start and took the lead during the first minute on Goodwin’s dunk.
Goodwin scored all seven of the Trojans’ points in the first 2 minutes.
“We just came out a little flat,” Smith said. “It might have just been their size that bothered that starting group of ours a little bit.”
The Cougars took a 54-51 lead on Williams’ 3-pointer with 4:46 left.
USC forward Isaiah Mobley tied the game at 54 with a 3-pointer 17 seconds later. The score bobbled back and forth for the remainder of the game, with neither team getting more than two points ahead.
The Cougars shot 38% (22 for 58) from the floor but still kept pace with the Trojans. WSU went 8 for 20 (40%) on 3-pointers and 9 for 11 (82%) on free throws.
USC shot 50% (27 for 54) from the field but went 2 for 12 on 3-pointers and 7 for 13 (54%) on free throws.
WSU guard Michael Flowers scored a team-high 13 points, making 3 for 5 shots from distance.
Bamba went 3 for 3 from beyond the arc for nine points.
Trojans guard Drew Peterson finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
Goodwin totaled 14 points and five rebounds.
This game marks 11 consecutive losses for the Cougars against USC. The Cougars’ last victory against USC was in 2015.
WSU heads into a break from Pac-12 play and takes on the Weber State Wildcats at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Beasley Coliseum.
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