On Wednesday night, while the USC Trojans were playing Washington in an amped-up Alaska Airlines Arena, the Washington State Cougars welcomed UCLA in front of an announced crowd of 2,497 fans at Beasley Coliseum.
If USC is ever going to win a true road game this season — the Trojans are 0-4 — Saturday’s trip to Pullman would be a great place to get started.
Washington State is 8-13 and 1-7 in the Pac-12 after losing to UCLA 87-67. It may be hard to believe, but, after that performance, there may be less excitement in the building for the Trojans than there was for the Bruins.
USC (12-9, 5-3) had its chance Wednesday night to play its way into the running for the Pac-12 regular-season title against first-place Washington but was plagued by the same issues that have kept the Trojans from reaching their potential all season.
USC is at its best when it has a high assist-to-turnover ratio, but against Washington it had 13 assists and 18 turnovers. The Trojans’ starting guards, Derryck Thornton, Jonah Mathews and Shaqquan Aaron, combined for just two assists, both of which came from Thornton.
One positive was that freshman guards Elijah Weaver and Kevin Porter Jr. emerged as players who could create for their teammates. They each had four assists.
Washington State is dependent on two players for most of its offensive production. Senior forward Robert Franks averages 21.2 points and 7.4 rebounds. Freshman guard C.J. Elleby appears ready to take the reins for the Cougars next season, averaging 16.0 points.
AT WASHINGTON STATE
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Beasley Coliseum.
On the air: TV: Pac-12 Networks; Radio: 1110.
Update: The Cougars’ lone win of the Pac-12 season came at home against California, which is 0-8 in the league. USC is coming off a 75-62 loss to Washington and needs a win to stay in the race for the regular-season crown.