What They're Saying: 14-and-oh Edition

THE QUIPS OF the night belonged to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, with an assist from an unnamed NBA scout, but pithy prose was flowing far and wide from L.A. to Tacoma, and all points in between, after Washington State on the road Thursday emerged victorious for the eighth time out of the last 10 meetings against Southern Cal. And by the way, did you see that other TEAM?

College basketball is still about substance over show. "Mayo is a great," said one NBA scout as he walked away, shaking his head. "But did you see that other team?"
-- Bill Plaschke, LA Times

Washington State 73, USC 58 was a celebration of five playing as one and just the latest example of how much hustle and smarts must be invested in order to succeed in this conference.
-- Jeff Miller, Orange County Register

Taylor Rochestie looks like somebody's kid brother sneaking onto the basketball team. He's just as bothersome, too. For opponents, anyway, and when he waltzed through USC's defenders for an uncontested layup, the skinny left-hander not only broke down the defense, but its spirit as well.
-- Phil Collin, Daily Bulletin

Bottom line, the Trojans were much more fun to watch last year before O.J. Mayo arrived. And they will probably be more fun to watch next year when O.J. Mayo is gone. Unless, of course, he decided to stick it out here for another year to improve his game and his team. But, hey, that wouldn't be Hollywood. That would be Washington State.
-- Bill Plaschke, LA Times

The Trojans missed out on a chance to hand Washington State its first loss of the season, getting schooled by the older, wiser and more together Cougars at the Galen Center on Thursday night, 73-58..."That was basketball (Washington State) played," sophomore guard Daniel Hackett said softly after the game. "I don't know what we did, but it wasn't basketball."
-- Gregg Patton, The Press Enterprise

Not exactly the best music lyrics to play in the Galen Center after USC's 73-58 loss to Washington State, but the Traveling Wilburys ``End of the Line'' which features the chorus, ``Well it's all right'' blared through the building.
-- Scott Wolf, Daily News

The Cougars simply outworked USC for much of the game, knocking away balls and grabbing offensive rebounds to extend possessions. Senior guard Derrick Low missed one three-point shot midway through the second half and it was no big deal after forward Robbie Cowgill pulled down the rebound and Washington State worked the ball back to Low for a successful three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 45-33 lead.
-- Ben Bolch, LA Times

The Cougars (14-0 overall, 2-0 Pacific-10 Conference) will experience a first in school history Saturday – a matchup of top-five teams – when they take on No. 5 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. They should take into that game plenty of positives about their offense, which had not exactly been lighting up the scoreboard.
-- Todd Milles, Tacoma News Tribune

They are an interesting bunch, a collection of long hair, skinny elbows and intramural appearances. In pregame warm-ups, the Cougars look as athletic as a bridge club. And just as intimidating. That might be the reason the Trojans — unranked, without a Pac-10 victory and in serious need of some sorting out — entered the game favored by 2 1/2 points.
-- Jeff Miller, Orange County Register

The Cougars were outstanding offensively in the second half, shooting 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) and committing only two turnovers. That enabled them to win handily despite USC's 15-of-22 second-half shooting.
-- Associated Press

Coach Tony Bennett's Cougars, after shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, changed strategies. They powered the ball inside, hammering it to 6-10, 270-pound Aron Baynes, who either dunked or drew a foul, as USC's top two power forwards, RouSean Cromwell and Keith Wilkinson, accumulated four fouls apiece with 15 minutes left in the game.
-- Dan Weber, The Press Enterprise

Now, the Cougars face an even bigger test Saturday, completing their visit to Los Angeles at Pauley Pavilion against No. 5 UCLA (15-1, 3-0) in the sixth-ever Pac-10 game matching two teams ranked in the top five. The Cougars have won just once in 50 road games against the Bruins.
-- Associated Press

But then Washington State starts grinding and poking and sliding bodies in front of anything that moves. Defending against the Cougars' stick-to-the-blueprint offense can put the mental in fundamental.
-- Jeff Miller, Orange County Register

...As soon as the Cougars countered with a tying three-point shot, the air went out of the place. Sustained noise is a learned behavior, apparently. The Cougars slowly but surely sucked the energy out the arena as they built a double-digit lead in the second half and coasted in.
-- Gregg Patton, The Press Enterprise

The Cougars, who haven't won the conference since 1941, visit No. 5 UCLA Saturday in an anticipated Top 5 clash. They lead the nation in defense, allowing just 49.8 points per game...Despite (USC) shooting 54 percent from the field, Thursday's 58-point performance was not much better, as the Cougars lived up to their high ranking with a tough and composed performance.
-- Joe Curley - Ventura County Star

The Cougars' defense had difficulty contending with Gibson inside, especially with Robbie Cowgill in foul trouble all game (played 14 minutes).
-- Todd Milles, Tacoma News Tribune

They needed all of it to raise their record to 14-0, 2-0 in the Pac-10. Because they couldn't keep USC (9-6, 0-3) from getting the ball to the basket. The Trojans had 38 of their points at or near the rim, by far the most WSU has given up this season.
-- Vince Grippi, The Spokesman-Review

Daven Harmeling delivered the knockout punch Thursday night, and he did it with a broken thumb.
-- Howie Stalkwick, Kitsap Sun

The Pac-10 has four of the top 10 scoring defenses in the country, including No. 1 Washington State, which helps suppress points by playing a well drilled, structured offense. At times, it can appear the Cougars are well drilled all right — right into the floor.
-- Jeff Miller, Orange County Register

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