Nick Rakocevic scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and USC never trailed en route to a 93-84 win over Washington State on Saturday night.
Jonah Mathews scored 20 points on 6-7 shooting from 3-point range for USC (13-9, 6-3). Bennie Boatwright added 18 points and five rebounds.
Robert Franks scored 25 points for Washington State (8-14, 1-8). Ahmed Ali added 18 points and seven assists.
USC exploded to start the game with a 16-4 run in the first seven minutes of the game. Shaqquan Aaron knocked down a 3-pointer, followed by a jumper from Derryck Thornton and a big dunk underneath the basket by Victor Uyaelunmo.
WSU fought back with an 8-0 run of their own to make it a seven-point game after 3’s from Aljaz Kunc and Viont’e Daniels, followed by a layup from Franks.
USC answered with a 17-2 run over 3:30 to retain a 19-point lead. Rakocevic scored the first six points of the run after a layup and four-point play. Rakocevic was fouled on a layup, missed his free throw and recovered his own rebound for an easy bucket under the rim completing the four-point play.
The run was capped by a jumper from Thornton and a 3-pointer from Boatwright. USC lead at halftime 47-33.
WSU cut the lead to eight points at one point in the second half but USC went on an 11-2 run over 3:30 with a jumper and 3-pointer from Kevin Porter Jr. during the run. The Trojan run gave them a 16-point lead with 10 left in the game.
The Cougars within single digits after a 3-pointer from Franks cut the lead to eight with 22 seconds remaining but USC would make their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Wednesday vs. Utah, 8 p.m., Galen Center, Pac-12 Networks — The Trojans swept the Utes last season, winning 84-67 at the Galen Center and 74-58 in Utah.