Isaiah Collier injures hand as USC falls to Washington State

ByPaolo Uggetti ESPN logo
Thursday, January 11, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- On a night when USC was playing short-handed and shot 37.9% from the field, star freshman Isaiah Collier injured his right hand and couldn't finish the game as Washington Statehanded the Trojans their eighth loss of the season, 72-64.

With 12 minutes left and USC down two points, Collier turned the ball over, committed a foul and exited. He eventually returned to the bench sporting a brace on his right hand and some ice.

Coach Andy Enfield did not expand on Collier's injury after the game, while a USC spokesperson said Collier's injury had been officially diagnosed as a right hand contusion.

Enfield said that forward Joshua Morgan, who has anchored the team's defense and is averaging 2.3 blocks, was ruled out three hours before tipoff with an undisclosed illness.

In the face of an 10-5 Cougars team (1-3 Pac-12) that brought plenty of energy to the Galen Center, much of the load was left for senior Boogie Ellis to carry. Ellis, who finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds, was playing at "about 60%," according to Enfield, after tweaking his hamstring last weekend.

"Boogie hasn't practiced all week," Enfield said. "It doesn't excuse our missed free throws, open shots or some of the mistakes we made."

Without Morgan patrolling the center of the court, the Cougars outscored USC in the paint 34-28 and shot 47% from the field, while also outrebounding the Trojans 38-32. The Wazzu bench scored 36 points to USC's 16.

"We've been pretty bad defensively this year," Ellis said.

Offensively, things were not much better. USC missed 8 free throws and shot 29% on 3-pointers. Only Ellis and Collier (12 points) reached double figures.

WithLeBron Jamesin attendance, Bronny James went scoreless and shot 0-for-3 from the field while grabbing 2 rebounds and recording 1 assist in 15 minutes. He sat down with 7 minutes left and didn't return until the final 29 seconds because the Trojans went bigger down the stretch.

In his last two games against WSU andStanford, Bronny has shot 0-for-7 from the field following a 10-point performance againstCal.

"All players go through stretches where they make and miss shots," Enfleid said of Bronny. "It's a process."

Last season, USC did not lose its eighth game until Feb. 11. But after Wednesday night, the Trojans are 8-8 and 2-3 in the Pac-12.

Any progress USC may have made with its last two wins feels undercut by Wednesday's outcome, which was the Cougars' first time beating the Trojans on the road in nearly nine years.

The Trojans, who have made the NCAA tournament the past three seasons, are in danger of missing out on March Madness.

"At the end of the day, nobody feels sorry for us," Ellis said. "We just gotta go keep working, keep pushing."

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.