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February 9, 2008

Wazzu Sweeps Away Trojans


For the first time since they had seasons where they were expected to lose, the 17th-ranked Washington State University Cougars men's hoop team had lost three games in a row at home. That led head coach Tony Bennett to write "Now is the time." on a board before the Cougars' game against the USC Trojans - who had won six of their last seven coming into the game - and behind a perfect game [9-for-9 from the field for 17 points] from senior guard Kyle Weaver, Wazzu systematically destroyed the Trojans in a 74-50 victory - that was, both symbolically and literally, their biggest conference win of the year. The win moves the Cougars to 18-5 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-10.


The Cougars began sluggish - allowing USC to take an early 7-4 lead just before the first official TV timeout. But Wazzu then embarked on a 7-0 run in just under three minutes, causing Trojan head coach Tim Floyd to stop the bleeding with a quick 30-second timeout. USC was able to right the ship temporarily, holding their deficit to five for the next seven minutes but the Cougars went on another seven point run - this time 10-3 over the remaining six minutes to break out to a 12-point margin before Trojans super frosh O.J. Mayo scored on a tip-in to cut the gap to 29-19 at the half.

In the second half, it was all Cougars. USC got the lead down to six points after Mayo hit a jumper but a dunk from junior center Aron Baynes sent Wazzu on another run - this time 14-4 - and put the Cougars firmly in charge of the game with a 45-29 lead midway through the second half. The lead stayed in double digits from there onward although USC did cut it back down to 12 at 58-46 with 5:09 remaining in the game, but a frustrated Floyd drew a technical foul when arguing with the referee over a perceived missed call and Wazzu put the game in the proverbial refrigerator by keeping the Trojans scoreless from the field for the most of the remaining time in the game until USC hit a final three-pointer to end the scoring. Junior guard Taylor Rochestie added 13 points and Weaver led the team with seven rebounds.

The sweep of the Trojans is the second consecutive regular season sweep for Wazzu over Troy as the Cougars have now won nine of the last eleven games over the Trojans [all under Bennett and previous head coach Dick Bennett] as well as the last five consecutive games in Pullman.




The Cougars will next play Oregon State at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 14 in Corvallis.





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