USC basketball: Trojans lead Cougars at halftime, 26-22.
Washington State and USC are heading into the new year on the heels of a brutally ugly, low-scoring basketball game. The Trojans lead at halftime at the Galen Center, 26-22.
The game was back and forth before USC used an 8-0 run to take a 19-13 lead. Washington State cut that lead to two, and then the Trojans responded with a 7-3 run.
USC is struggling against the Cougars' zone defense, as it does against against any zone defense, but the Trojans aren't shooting that poorly, 10 for 24 (41.7%).
Washington State is playing pretty poorly, though, at least offensively.
The Cougars have shot nine for 30, and are being led by junior forward DeAngelo Casto, who is using his athletic, muscular 6-foot-8, 255-pound frame to attack USC's 6-foot-10 forwards, Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic.
Casto has a game-high 12 points. Stepheson has a team-high seven points for USC.
Washington State guard Klay Thompson, who entered as the Pacific 10 Conference's top scorer (22.6 points per game), is being bottled up by USC defensive specialist Marcus Simmons.
Thompson missed his first six shots and has just six points at halftime. He has shot two for 11.
-- Baxter Holmes