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USC Vs. Washington St: Trojans Look For Fifth Straight Win

(Sports Network) -- Looking to improve on a season-long four-game win streak, the USC Trojans will take their act to Beasley Coliseum, for a Pac-10 date with the Washington State Cougars. The Trojans have won five of their last six games to sit in fourth place in the Pac-10 with a 9-7 league mark. With a win tonight, they would move to .500 in league road contests, at 4-4.

Washington State currently occupies the sixth-spot in the Pac-10 standings with an 8-8 record. The Cougars downed Washington, 80-69, on Sunday, to halt a two-game skid. They are 5-2 in league home games. With respect to the all-time series, tonight's matchup marks the 111th meeting between USC and Washington State. The Trojans currently hold a 67-43 lead, which includes a 60-56 victory earlier this season.

USC last played on Saturday, in a 62-46 drubbing of Arizona State. The Trojans, who rank second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (40.6 percent), held the Sun Devils to a season-low 30.6 percent shooting, which included a 3-of-14 performance from beyond the arc. Nikola Vucevic provided offensive pop for USC, as he finished with 20 points and 10 boards. Alex Stepheson turned in a double-double as well, with 15 points and 10 boards, while Donte Smith added 12 points. Vucevic is averaging a double-double on the year, as he leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg). Stepheson ranks second on the team in rebounding (8.8 rpg), to go with his 10 ppg. In all, the Trojans average a modest 66.7 ppg. Their strength lies on the defensive end, as they allow just 62.2 ppg, the fewest points per game allowed amongst conference teams. The Trojans are 12-0 when holding teams to less than 60 points.

On Sunday, a smothering first half defensive effort helped Washington State down rival Washington. The Cougars held the Huskies to just 17 first half points on 22.2 percent shooting (8-of-36). The Cougars then pulled away after the break, netting 56 points over the final 20 minutes, in a second half that saw them lead by as many as 21 points. Washington State held the Huskies to just 33.8 percent shooting for the game, and currently leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (39.1 percent). Klay Thompson led the Washington State attack with 26 points, driven largely by a 13-of-14 performance from the foul line. DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore added 20 and 10 points, respectively. Thompson currently leads the Cougars and the Pac-10 in scoring at 21.4 ppg. Casto adds 11.7 ppg, as Washington State pours in 73.3 ppg. Defensively, the Cougars hold opponents to 66.3 ppg.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.