It was the Brock Motum show, followed by the Royce Woolridge encore Saturday afternoon, as the Washington State Cougars completed their first sweep of the season, knocking off USC in emphatic fashion, 76-51.
Motum scored 21 first half points, outscoring USC all by himself in the period as the Cougs had as much as a 22 point advantage and ultimately led 39-20 at intermission. Then he followed with several monstrosorous (that’s probably my word of the day) buckets as the Trojans finally found a spark and closed the gap from 22 to 5 in the first 8 minutes of the second half.
In that run J.T. Terrell hit fire status for a couple minutes, scoring 8 of the first 10 of SC’s points with 2 threes and a transition layup to roar his team back. A combination of turnovers by Washington State and a faster pace from the Trojans led the rally, but USC seemed to tire after expending a whole lot of energy on the run. The Cougs then settled down and got back to the backdoor cuts and movement that had worked so successfully earlier.
Then it was Woolridge’ turn, as he put a hammer to the nails that previously had existed in SC’s coffin. The KU transfer (2 years removed) went on his own 11-0 run, hitting back to back to back triples and then cashing in some free throws to take the Cougs from a comfortable 10 points advantage to an insurmountable 21 pointer, with just under 4 minutes to go.
Washington State not only won this series against the L.A. schools, they dominated from the beginning of UCLA to the back-end of USC. It was the most impressive I have seen the Cougs play in the Ken Bone era, which says a whole heck of a lot when considering the Klay Thompson era that Bone started in. It also says a lot about the team, that they came out and played this way after having multiple chances to wave the white flag, fold the tent, pack their lunch boxes, or any other term you could use for throwing in the towel.
I am truly proud of the way that Motum went out at home as well. To show out like that in front of your family and friends is a simply incredible experience, and he ended the day 5th on WSU’s all time scoring chart. He also accumulated 10 rebounds for a double double on the afternoon. Not to be left out, congrats to Mike Ladd for playing and contributing in a big way in his final regular season home game with 6 assists, good defensive effort and only 1 turnover. He’s done a great job for this program and we’ll miss his contributions.
With the win, WSU secured an 11 seed to stay out of the cellar, because of their win against Utah earlier in the year. They will match up Wednesday at some point with Washington, the 6th seed, in round 1 of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. We’ll go over our thoughts on how this matchup should shake out over the next few days leading up to Apple Cup pt 3.