LOS ANGELES (AP) — Katin Reinhardt scored 18 points and Southern California remained perfect at home with an 81-71 victory over Washington State on Thursday night.
Chimezie Metu and Nikola Jovanovic added 12 points apiece, Bennie Boatwright had 11 and Elijah Stewart scored 10 as the Trojans (16-5, 5-3 Pac-12) snapped a two-game losing streak.
USC led 52-41 at halftime and remained in front by multiple possessions the entire second half.
The Trojans improved to 12-0 at home this season and 14-0 in the state of California.
Ike Iroegbu scored 21 points for the Cougars (9-11, 1-7), who suffered their sixth consecutive loss. Que Johnson scored 16 points off the bench and Josh Hawkinson had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
WSU dropped to 1-6 away from home. The Cougars haven’t won a true road game since Feb. 2015.
USC’s halftime edge came after a wild first half that featured 14 lead changes and 12 ties. The Trojans led just 41-39 with 3:18 to go, but switched to a full-court press out of a timeout and outscored the Cougars 11-2 the rest of the way.
Iroegbu had 16 points in the first half for WSU and Reinhardt had 13 for USC. Both teams shot over 53 percent from the field.
That run at the end of the half gave USC all the breathing room it needed. The Trojans kept up their offensive firepower in the second half to stay ahead the whole way.
Washington State reeled off a 10-0 run late in the half to cut its deficit to 70-64 with 5:31 to go, but Jordan McLaughlin hit a 3-pointer from the left wing and then found Metu under the basket for a dunk the following possession to re-extend the Trojans lead to double-digits.
The Cougars never got within three possessions again.
Washington State: Iroegbu scored 10 of the Cougars first 18 points. … They dropped to 0-10 when trailing at the half. … Hawkinson recorded his 15th double-double in 19 games this season.
USC: The Trojans have led at halftime in 17 of their 21 games. They are 15-2 in those contests. … Their 12-0 home record is their best to start a season since 1943, when they started 13-0. … Reinhardt reached 1,000 career points in the first half. The junior now has 1,007 in his career.
Washington State visits UCLA on Saturday.
USC hosts Washington on Saturday.
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