Okongwu scores 27, USC handles Washington State 65-56

NCAA Basketball
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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)Onyeka Okongwu scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Southern California to a 65-56 victory over Washington State Thursday night in the Pac-12 opener.

USC (12-2) dominated the game physically, controlling the paint and holding Washington State to just 28% shooting. The Trojans have now won six in a row and are 3-0 on the road this season.

Okongwu finished 12-of-14 shooting and had two blocked shots in his first game back after suffering a mild ankle sprain. This was his sixth double-double of the season. Jonah Mathews had 10 points and four assists and Elijah Weaver had eight points and four rebounds for USC.

Isaac Bonton scored 18 points and Tony Miller had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Washington State (9-5). The Cougars were overpowered by the bigger and more physical Trojans to start Pac-12 play after notching six consecutive wins against non-conference opponents and going undefeated in December.

The Cougars were outrebounded 46-36 and outscored 40-28 in the pain.

The Trojans jumped out to an early 22-9 lead after a 17-4 run that was sparked by a fast-break layup by Jonah Matthews. Washington State responded with a 14-5 run over the last seven minutes to make it 31-27 at the break.

The Cougars got within three with 8:09 left in the second when Jervae Robinson stripped the ball and dished it to CJ Elleby for a monster dunk. That was the closest they got.

BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans have now won six in a row and the last seven matchups against Washington State. Star freshman Okongwu looked to have no trouble coming back from an ankle injury, posting his sixth double-double of the season.

Washington State: After knocking off six straight wins in a row against non-Power 5 teams in December, the Cougars struggled against the athleticism of Southern California, shooting a season low 28%.

UP NEXT

USC: The Trojans play at Washington on Sunday

Washington State: The Cougars host UCLA on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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