LOS ANGELES — Groundhog Day came early for the Washington men’s basketball team, which has seemingly been caught in a tormenting loop of losses the past week. 

In their past three outings against the top teams in the Pac-12, the Huskies controlled large portions of the game, outscored their opponents in the second half and received standout performances from their star Keion Brooks Jr. 

However, none of it has led to a win and the latest setback — an 80-74 defeat against USC on Saturday night — looked similar to the previous games against No. 9 UCLA on Thursday and No. 6 Arizona seven days earlier. 

“Being so close so many times is annoying,” said Brooks, who finished with a game-high-tying 22 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. “You would think we would learn from our mistakes, but game after game it seems like we keep doing the same stuff that hurts us.  

“I could live with if teams were outright just better than us and beating us, but I feel like a lot of times we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.” 

The Huskies had a few shining moments in front of the crowd of 5,706 at Galen Center. 


Washington had six assists on its first six field goals and zero turnovers when Braxton Meah flushed a dunk off a feed from Keyon Menifield to take a 16-9 lead with 11:49 left in the first half. 

However, the Huskies’ downturn coincided when Meah picked up three fouls in less than a minute and went to the bench for the remainder of the first half with 9:24 left and the score tied 16-16. 

The Trojans used an 11-0 run to unlock a 22-22 tie, seize control and go up 31-22 with 3:06 remaining before the break. 

Washington converted just 1 of its final 10 field goals in the first half and trailed 34-27 at intermission. 

With Meah back on the court, the Huskies ran off 10 unanswered points to start the second half and regained a 37-34 lead. 

However, Meah picked up his fourth foul and went to the sideline once again with 12:04 left and UW ahead 46-44. 


Husky coach Mike Hopkins put Meah back in with 9:11 left and it took him 64 seconds before collecting his fifth foul and going to the bench for good with 11 points and five dunks on 5-for-5 shooting. 

“For him to play (19) minutes, not good enough,” Hopkins said. “We’ve got to have him. And he’s got to be smarter. The other day he played really well with four fouls. Tonight, he got a little bit more aggressive and they called them. It hurts us because offensively, they had no answer. 

“It was a big gamble, but he was the difference maker and we needed him in the game. We’re just different. Another foul just kind of kills us. Then Brooks has to play the center. Just disappointing.” 

Without their 7-foot-1 center, the Huskies turned to Menifield (21 points and four assists) who took over and drained back-to-back three-pointers that put UW up 60-58 with 4:11 left. 

Then the Trojans hit the Huskies with a crippling 14-2 run over the next three minutes to go up 72-62 with 1:02 left. 

“They made a couple,” Hopkins said. “We missed a couple and that was the difference in the game.” 


Jamal Bey added 10 points and five rebounds while starting for Cole Bajema, who was serving a one-game Pac-12 suspension. 

It was the Huskies’ seventh straight loss to the Trojans, who extended their home winning streak to 12 in a row. 

Tre White had a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds for the Trojans (17-6, 9-3 Pac-12).  

Washington (13-12, 5-9) has just six regular-season games left, starting with a trip to cross-state rival Washington State on Saturday. 

“This is going to be our break,” Hopkins said. “A lot of these teams have had their midseason break when they have their rivalry game. We need it. Disappointed that we lost, but there’s been some good points. At UCLA we played really well in the second half. Tonight, we played well for the most part, but just didn’t end well. I think there’s some growth and get ready for our final stretch.”