THEY'RE BAAAACK: Cougs reclaim season

NOW IS THE TIME. Four simple words. Four prophetic words. In the midst of skid that threatened to destroy what seemed a season of destiny, Washington State head coach Tony Bennett wrote those words on the chalk board prior to his Cougs taking to Friel Court Saturday to battle surging USC and freshman sensation O.J. Mayo.

"Before the game, coach didn't say anything to us. He just came in and wrote `Now is the time' on the board and he walked out," said Cougar senior swingman Kyle Weaver, the star of the day. "We all sat there for a minute, we took it in. I think this might be one of the first games that we got ourselves up to play before the game. That was big having him come in and put the ball in our court. That was big for us."

The Cougars routed the Trojans 74-50 behind Weaver's all-everything efforts: 17 points on 8-of-8 field goals, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. He also limited Mayo to a 6-of-15 shooting performance.

WSU is now 18-5 overall and 6-5 in conference play. The Cougs head to OSU on Thursday and Oregon on Saturday. Both games will be televised.

"We both really needed this game," said Bennett. "... I thought we were very sound with a level of patience without guys trying to take over the game. We had a little trouble with their press, but for the most part, held tough and didn't break down very easy. We played the game we needed to play to be successful with great patience and making them earn. They have a lot of talent.

"I told the guys leading up to the game, `don't lose your heart...' When you get out to a lead like that that helps. They did the job. It was hard-fought."

Here's how the game looked through the courtside camera lens ...


KYLE WEAVER: 17 POINTS TODAY, 1,000 FOR CAREER.


DAVEN HARMELING FIRES UP FROM DOWNTOWN.


TONY BENNETT WAVES TO VOCAL FANS AT GAME'S END.


USC COACH TIM FLOYD EJECTED BY REFEREE DAVID HALL. O.J. MAYO SERVES AS ESCORT.


ROBBIE COWGILL, WEAVER EMBRACE AFTER ENDING 3-GAME SKID.


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