It's still in their minds. It's not a game they will forget any time soon.
An early 2-0 Pac-12 start was in USC basketball's grasp. The Trojans had opened up a 22-point lead and were dominating Washington. Julian Jacobs was on his way to a potential career high and had thrown down two monster slams, posterizing a defender with one of them.
But then Jacobs went up for a rebound and landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle and re-aggravating an injury that had bothered him off and on since training camp. Jacobs limped off the court and would be out for the rest of the game. It was blood in the water. Using its roster full of long, lanky athletes, Washington began to apply full-court pressure. With only two true ballhandlers on the roster, the onus was on Jordan McLaughlin to figure out the press. He didn't get much help from his teammates and McLaughlin had one of his worst halves, turning the ball over eight times in the game.
The Trojans lead dwindled and dwindled until Washington was able to pull off an 89-87 win behind 29 points from Dejounte Murray and another 24 from Andrew Andrews.
USC has an opportunity to hold serve at home court and continue their perfect record at the Galen Center on Saturday afternoon when the Huskies (14-6, 6-2) enter looking to keep pace with Oregon atop the Pac-12 standings. The Trojans are just one game behind both teams with a 16-5, 5-3 record.
"It’s a revenge game," McLaughlin said. "Every time someone beats you, you want get back at them and beat them."
"They stole one from us at their house," Jacobs said. "But they’re a good team. We have to come just as prepared as we did the first time."
Here's what to watch, where you can see the game, a flashback to the last time these teams played and the projected starting lineups.
What to Watch:
Dealing With the Pressure - When Julian Jacobs went down in the first matchup, Washington switched tactics and brought full-court pressure, which completely changed the dynamics of the game. It was the first time the Trojans had faced a constant defensive attack for the full length of the floor and they didn't respond well.
After the ball was inbounded to point guard Jordan McLaughlin, he was often left by himself to defeat the Huskies' trapping. Rather than working as a team to exploit the various holes in the middle of the court, it was often McLaughlin alone getting trapped in the short corner and then trying to throw around the skinny arms of the Washington defenders.
"Everyone just has to be more alert and ready to come back to the ball if one of our teammates gets trapped," McLaughlin said. "Just have to be more alert on the press and getting open. Slowing down and controlling the ball."
Will the Huskies again try to speed up the Trojans by guarding the entire court?
"You can better believe that they’re going to look to press us because that’s how they got back in the game last time, so we just have to be ready for that," Jacobs said.
USC hasn't shown it can consistently make teams pay for trying to play a full 90 feet of defense. Even against Oregon, the Trojans didn't turn the ball over, but extended pressure caused them to slow down their offense and they looked out of sorts. Jacobs and McLaughlin have to find a balance between going full throttle and slowing down enough to not run into traps and/or turning the ball over.
Still Recovering - Are you feeling good J-Mac?
"Feeling better, not good, but better."
That was USC guard Jordan McLaughlin on Friday. He still has yet to recover fully from the sickness that first hit him in the days leading up to the UCLA game. He has had chills and a nasty cough and that sapped him of his strength and endurance.
McLaughlin wasn't bothered in the game against the Bruins. In fact, he played terrific. Maybe it was the atmosphere at Pauley Pavilion and the adrenaline of playing a rival or maybe the illness hadn't fully set in. Since then, it looks like the Space Jam "Monstars" have stepped in and stolen away his talents. He hasn't had the energy or explosion that make him so dangerous on both ends of the court and it looks like he has been shooting with dead legs that have kept him from getting the proper lift, even on his set shots.
He's also having to battle his own competitive spirit. After a pair of poor performances in Oregon, McLaughlin wanted to get right back in the gym to try to correct things, but he also needed to rest his body.
"It’s tough. When you’re body is hurting, you’ve got to get the treatment that way you can get back to right. But also, if your body is hurting, just take standstill shots. Just as long as you get the reps up and get the same repetition on the shots."
The day after returning from the trip to the Emerald State, despite it being an off day for the team, McLaughlin was back in the gym putting up "600-700 shots."
Know Thy Enemy - Washington has been the biggest surprise in the Pac-12 this season, particularly in the new year. That the Huskies have a 14-6 record doesn't seem out of place, but they entered conference play struggling. In their final three non-conference games, they lost to Oakland, nearly lost to Seattle and then dropped a game to UC Santa Barbara. It took double overtime, but Washington beat UCLA to open conference play and then the rally to beat USC seems to have really energized a very young team and given them confidence. The Huskies play really well together and are only getting better as the season progresses. Youthful, energetic and as liable to have a 20-point blowout either way through 30 minutes turn into a nail biter at the end as has been evidenced in their matchups with the Los Angeles schools.
Senegal Swatter - Malik Dime hasn't started a game this season, but he's been having a huge impact off the Washington bench. Dime is averaging 6.9 points in 21.2 minutes, but it's his work on the defensive end that is drawing attention. In 20 games, the Senegal native has rejected 58 shots...nearly three per game -- good for ninth in the nation. Only once this season has he been held blockless. Against USC in the first matchup, Dime had three points, four rebounds, a steal and four return-to-senders. Of course, it could have been worse for the Trojans. He swatted seven shots against Colorado. Dime doesn't have elite size, he's only 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, but he has great instincts and knows how to time his jump.
Last Matchup: Washington won 89-87 on Jan. 3, 2016.
From 22 up with Julian Jacobs slamming dunks to Jacobs slamming his fists on the bench unable to help as the rest of the team took a two-point loss. Allowing 22 offensive rebounds and turning the ball over 21 times didn't help the Trojans' cause.
Where to Watch:
Game Time, TV channel: Noon PST, Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson, Mike Montgomery)
Radio: ESPN 710, TuneIn Radio (Chris Fisher, Jordan Moore)
Projected Starting Lineups:
G - Andrew Andrews (6-2 senior)
G - Dejounte Murray (6-4 freshman)
F - Matisse Thybulle (6-5 freshman)
F - Noah Dickerson (6-8 freshman)
F - Marquese Chriss (6-10 freshman)
G - Julian Jacobs (6-3 junior)
G - Jordan McLaughlin (6-1 sophomore)
G - Katin Reinhardt (6-6 junior)
F - Bennie Boatwright (6-10 freshman)
F - Nikola Jovanovic (6-11 junior)