To say the Cougs’ defense let them down doesn’t quite capture it -- USC shot a scalding 74 percent from the floor in the second half.
For the game, the Trojans shot 57 percent.
Washington State fell to 11-12 overall, 4-7 Pac-12 while USC improved to 20-4 (7-4 Pac-12). Kent cited fatigue and mental mistakes at crunch time.
“When we needed to step it up, we didn’t do it,” said Kent.
Washington State made a charge in the second half from a 10-point deficit, a dunk by Josh Hawkinson gave the Cougars a 59-57 lead at the 10:17 mark.
But from that point on, USC scored at will. Trailing by a deuce, the Trojans put together the decisive 15-2 run that Kent referenced and WSU found itself in a deep hole trailing 72-61 with 6:33 left.
USC simply had more runs than the Cougs over the course of the game. Among the more decisive, a 10-2 Trojan run at the end of the first half gave USC a 38-33 lead going into the locker room. WSU opened the game on a 14-3 run and made 5 of its first 11 3-point attempts.
Senior guard Ike Iroegbu came close to a double-double, with 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting and 9 assists. He had just two turnovers.
Hawkinson did post a double-double, with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
But while Jeff Pollard was a bright spot with 6 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes, WSU was outscored 22-12 in points off the bench.
UP NEXT: WSU at Utah on Thursday.