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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Use Defense to Halt Three-Game Skid
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/20/2010
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Feb. 20, 2010

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PULLMAN, Wash. - Defense prevailed as Washington State University men's basketball (16-11, 6-9) held off a late surge by USC (16-10, 8-6) and halted its three-game skid with a 51-47 victory Saturday at Friel Court.

"We saw a great effort, I thought our focus was really good," WSU head coach Ken Bone said. "Our guys really locked in on how to guard USC because they're a very good team. For our guys to go out and hold them to 47 points is an outstanding effort, especially considering how we played two days ago. They bounced back and I'm really proud of our guys."

Reggie Moore led the Cougars with 12 points on 3-for-5 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. The freshman added two assists and a steal. Sophomore forwards DeAngelo Casto and Abe Lodwick added 11 points apiece, while Casto and Nikola Koprivica led the team with seven rebounds apiece.

Lodwick, getting his first start since Jan. 23, picked up some of the scoring void left by sophomore leading scorer Klay Thompson who finished with just two points, both from the free throw line. Despite his struggles shooting from the field, Thompson finished with six rebounds, three assists a blocked shot and a steal in 38 minutes. Thompson was solid on the defensive end, holding Marcus Johnson, who led USC last time the two teams met with 16 points, to just four points.

"He (Klay Thompson) did a good job tonight defensively," Bone said. "I thought his defense was very good and then he grabbed some rebounds. In his mind he probably thought he had the worst game of his career, but in our minds, he was not good on one end, but pretty darn good on the other."

The team's leading scorer, Dwight Lewis, led USC with 14 points, adding four boards and four of the team's eight steals. Nikola Vucevic was the only other Trojan in double figures with 12 points and seven boards.

After trailing by as many as nine after a 9-0 Cougar run early in the second half, the Trojans pulled within one at 45-44 with 1:27 to go in the game off a jumper by Lewis. WSU used the entire shot clock on its next possession and with just seconds left on the shot clock, Moore threw up a 3-pointer from the left wing which banked in to extend the Cougar lead to four, 48-44, with 51 seconds to go.

USC got the ball back and into Lewis's hands looking to cut it back to a one-possession game. Lewis drove the lane and pulled up for a baseline jumper, but Thompson was there to block the shot and give the ball back to the home team after pulling down the board. He was immediately fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one, giving USC hope to come back with 42 seconds to go.

The Trojans got within three points twice before the buzzer, but the Cougars made enough free throws down the stretch to seal the 51-47 victory.

Both teams struggled from the field offensively as USC shot .380 (19-for-50) from the field, including .143 (2-for-14) from the 3-point arc, and WSU shot .386 (17-for-44) from the floor and 3-for-13 from beyond the arc.

The Cougars close out their home season as they host Washington, Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Friel Court. The Cougs will honor their lone senior Nikola Koprivica prior to the game.

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball