SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)—Kyle Weaver did it all for No. 17 Washington State on Saturday.
Weaver scored 17 points, including the 1,000th of his career, and shut down Southern Cal’s O.J. Mayo as Washington State crushed the Trojans 74-50 to end a three-game losing streak.
Weaver made all eight of his field goal attempts, while limiting Mayo to 6-for-18 shooting. Weaver added seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“I wanted to make everything tough for him tonight,” Weaver said of Mayo, the heralded freshman.
The 24-point win was the biggest Pac-10 victory margin for the Cougars this season.
Washington State (18-5, 6-5) shot 59.6 percent from the floor and had nine steals against the Trojans. It was their only win in a four-game home stand, and only their fourth win in the past nine games, a streak which threatened to derail a season that had seen the Cougars rise to No. 4 in the nation.
Weaver said that before the game, coach Tony Bennett didn’t say a word to the team.
“He wrote ‘Now is the time’ on the board and walked out,” Weaver said. “This was one of the first games we actually got ourselves, before the game, a little riled up to play.”
Southern Cal coach Tim Floyd got riled up during the game. After Mayo hit the floor during a drive to the basket, Floyd rushed onto the court to complain about the lack of a foul call, automatically earning one technical. He continued to complain, picking up a second technical and was ejected with 4:49 left.
The Trojans (15-8, 6-5) scored only one point the rest of the game. They lost for only the second time in the past eight games.
“It was our goal to get to the line,” Floyd said. His team shot just eight free throws, making three.
“I can’t talk about the officiating because I want to coach the next game,” Floyd said. “I’m getting too old to get kicked out of games. I don’t know what happened tonight. I must have got a good night’s sleep.”
Mayo, who averages 20 points, led the Trojans with 14 points.
“I was just trying to get to the line against Weaver,” said Mayo, who made one of two free throws. “We just lost our poise.”
Taj Gibson, who averages 10 points, had two for USC. Davon Jefferson added 13.
The Trojans shot only 36 percent in the first half and trailed 29-19 at halftime. They shot 54 percent in the second half, but the Cougars were shooting 66.7 percent to pull away to an easy win and a season sweep of the Trojans.
Washington State forced four steals in the first nine minutes of the second half, while the offense made six of its first 10 shots for a 45-29 lead.
After Angelo Johnson’s 3-pointer for USC narrowed the lead to 58-46 with 5:04 left, the Cougars went on a 10-1 run—six points by Weaver—for a 68-47 lead.
Weaver’s first basket of the game gave him 1,000 points for his career, becoming the 29th Cougar to reach that milestone. Fellow guard Derrick Low became the 28th earlier this season, and they are the first teammates to reach that mark together since Terry Kelly and Don Collins in 1980.
It was the first time in eight games the Cougars scored at least 70 points.
Bennett said his team never panicked despite its recent slide, because it played pretty well during the first losing streak of his two-season coaching career.
“I don’t think they were shaken and rattled too bad,” Bennett said. “But the timing after dropping three at home was important.”
Senior forward Robbie Cowgill admitted that the three losses had conjured up the early seasons of his career, when the Cougars lost often.
“We started reminiscing about the old days, when that was what it was like,” Cowgill said. “It was just fun to win, man.”