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February 19, 2009
The assignment was tough but clear - if they wanted an opportunity to play in the post-season in 2009, the Washington State University men's hoop team would have to win at least one game in Los Angeles. But the Cougars missed their first opportunity as the USC Trojans built an early lead and defeated the Cougars, 61-51 in Los Angeles to complete the season sweep of the Cougars.
Two Cougars were in double figures for the game with senior Taylor Rochestie leading the way with 16 points, followed by fellow senior Caleb Forrest with 12 points.
It was the Caleb Forrest Show for Wazzu in the first five minutes as the senior scored the Cougars' first six points as he personally tied the Trojans, 6-6. But then the Cougars endured the recurring nightmare of the 16-0 Oregon State run from last week's game against the Beavers as the Trojans went on a 15-0 run of their own to take a commanding 21-6 lead. Rochestie, who went scoreless in the first half against OSU, was again scoreless for much of the first half before he finally hit a lay-up in the lane to break the scoring drought. That began a brief 7-0 Wazzu scoring run that brought the Cougars back into the game. However, the Cougars' trademark defense - especially interior defense - was showing some holes as the Trojans' Taj Gibson was able to score eight points and USC shot 48% from the field in putting up 29 first half points for a 29-21 lead going into the locker room. Wazzu's leading scorer - freshman Klay Thompson - was held scoreless in the first half.
Matters got worse for the Cougars in the second half as USC opened with a 10-3 run that threatened to end the game but the Cougars went on an 8-0 run midway through the second half to close to 41-37 and then closed to within a single point, at 45-44, on a three-point play from freshman DeAngelo Casto. But that was as close as they could get. Rochestie had one shot to take the lead and missed a trey, USC extended their lead on their next possession and the Trojans were able to keep the Cougars at arm's length for the rest of the game to secure the win and, perhaps, end any chance the Cougars may have at post-season play outside of winning the Pac-10 conference tournament and grabbing the automatic NCAA berth.
Wazzu's next game is against UCLA at noon on Saturday, February 21 in Los Angeles.
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Winter is here! How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for nine consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot chocolate.
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