McLaughlin narrowly missed the second triple-double in USC program history against Washington State and averaged 19.0 points, 9.5 assists, 6.5 rebound and 3.0 steals in a pair of wins. His outstanding play earned him his second Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season making McLaughlin the first Trojan to win two weekly conference honors since Harold Miner did so in 1991-92.
McLaughlin's numbers were even better than when he won the award earlier in the year, averaging 3.2 more assists, 1.8 extra rebounds and an additional 1.3 steals per game. He shot 61 percent from the floor in wins over Washington State and Washington, including hitting 55 percent of his three-point attempts.
"It's March. You've got to play your best basketball," McLaughlin said after a 22-point, 9-assist performance against Washington. "It's about that time for March Madness. There's just something that gets me. The better the games. The higher at stake. I feel like that's when I perform best."
McLaughlin has averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 assists per game on the year. The Trojans need McLaughlin to continue playing at a high level as they travel to Las Vegas this week for the Pac-12 tournament. USC looks to be in good shape for an NCAA tournament bid with a win over Washington in the opening round on Wednesday. With the winner facing UCLA in the quarterfinals, a pair of wins could not only solidify their resume for an at-large bid, but also improve the Trojans' NCAA tournament seeding.
"There's certain points of the season where you want to start peaking," McLaughlin said. "I think we're heading in the right direction. We took a tough trip in Arizona, but this week we bounced back. We learned from our mistakes and we've gotten better. That's what we've got to keep on doing."
McLaughlin has said on multiple occasions that he is not paying attention to the bracketology. For him, it's all about putting a tally in the win column after each game.
"Our goal is to just win games. The bidding and stuff and the seeding that's up to all the bracket people and all the stuff that they do. They have their job and we have our job, which is to just win games. Whenever [the bracket] comes out, we'll find out.
After not earning any weekly honors last year, this was USC's third conference honor this season with McLaughlin's pair and Shaqquan Aaron winning the final week of January. USC finished the regular season 23-8 (10-8) earning the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. The Trojans will face off against Washington for the second game in a row Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
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