After a slow start in the first half, Washington State men’s basketball (2-0) raced out to a double digit lead at the beginning of the second half against Seattle U (1-1). The Cougars held on for a 79-61 win thanks to solid defense and improved shooting from the charity stripe.
Out of the half, Mouhamed Gueye missed the free throw of the and-one. But the Cougs recovered the rebound and Noah Williams hit the jumper. Tyrell Roberts officially made it a 7-0 run to start off the second half with an uncontested three that hit nothing but net. Unfortunately he followed it up with his third foul, which sent him to the bench.
A questionable blocking foul on Gueye, his feet were planted and Grigsby traveled, sent him to the bench with three fouls of his own with a little over 18:20 left in the half.
Efe Abogidi hit both of his free throws to expand WSU’s lead; and then Michael Flowers was fouled as he missed on a contested three pointer — it honestly looked like Grigsby didn’t touch him. Flowers hit all three of his free throws to push the lead to 12 and to make it a 12-3 run to start the second half.
The Washington State lead was pushed to 14 when Williams hit a lay-up.
Washington State took a series of three pointers on its next possession, none of them fell. A defensive rebound got the ball back to the Cougs, but they turned it over on a Dishon Jackson travel. The game was a series of empty offensive possessions for both teams as neither side was able to get their shots to fall.
That changed when TJ Bamba hit one of his two free throws than Jackson nabbed the rebound before he put it back. At this point Washington State was on a 17-5 run to open up the second half.
Jackson responded to a Robinson lay-up with a contested jumper in the paint while he also drew a foul right before the under-12 media timeout. A missed free-throw was followed up by a wide open three for the RedHawks to make it 44-57.
A pretty spin move led to a jump shot from Gueye to make it a 59-47 lead. On the next Redhawk possession the Cougar defense shut down their ball movement and forced an air ball as the shot clock hit 0 for a shot clock violation. The shot clock violation was in the middle of a 9-2 Seattle U run that cut Washington State’s lead to nine at 59-50.
Williams got into double digits, and put WSU’s lead back into double digits. But Seattle U was quick to respond on the offensive end. Gueye drew a foul as he went for a layup and sank both free throws to get the lead back into double digits. The Cougars poor results from the charity stripe were a continued problem throughout the game.
Roberts’ deep three from near the mouth of the Cougar logo pushed the lead to 12-points with 4:42 left in the second half. DJ Rodman finally got on the board as his second chance lay-up made it a 12 point lead as the Cougars began to maintain a double digit lead late.
A technical foul, on Darrion Trammell for a flop when he stayed upright, led to a made free throw for Roberts. At this point the game turned into even more of a ref show than it had been for the first 26 and half minutes.
Both teams swapped buckets as the Cougar offense worked to slow down the game with a 17-point lead. Seattle U missed several two out of four back-to-back free throws as WSU worked to melt clock on the offensive side of the court. But the RedHawks fouled Roberts which led to the former D2 player of the year hitting both to get the lead back to 17.
The poor free throw shooting down the stretch continued to be a problem for the Cougars. But it didn’t end up being a problem for WSU as they walked out of Beasley with an 18-point win.
A six-minute scoring drought (in the first half) for WSU came to an end when Roberts hit a deep three, despite the fact that he had three fouls. It was followed by a foul on the RedHawks in the paint that gave the Cougars the ball back under the hoop. Unfortunately for WSU, Williams stepped on the boundary to turnover the ball.
Trammell quickly punished the Cougs for that costly error with a side-step three with a hand in his face. Roberts’ three attempt was no good, but the Cougars retained possession as the rebound bounced out of bounds. Gueye hit the lay-up off of a beautiful pass from Roberts to push the Cougar lead up to five.
Robinson hit the and-one after a layup to cut the lead down to two. Washington State responded with a pair of free throws to get the lead up to four. Another pair of free throws came when Gueye was fouled, he hit both, to extend the lead to six — the Cougars were three for nine from the charity stripe after that.
A three from Trammell cut the lead to three at 33-30 WSU. After that both squads swapped lay-ups as the game headed into the locker room at 35-32 Washington State.
The first flagrant foul of the game called when Rajkovi went up to block an attempted dunk. It was a hard foul, but not a flagrant one. While the free throw was missed, Jefferson Koulibaly hit a wide open three to make it 21-12 WSU. Seattle U got back into it with a three pointer from Robinson.
Flowers responded with a three of his own to make it a nine-point lead. WSU was five of nine from behind the ark at this point in the game.
Robinson hit his second straight three ball; which was then followed a Cameron three to cut the Cougar lead to three. Smith then took a timeout as the WSU defense had allowed back-to-back uncontested three-pointers. Seattle U trailed 24-21 with 7:37 left in the half.
In the first six minutes of the game, nine different Cougars saw playing time. During that time, Seattle U stayed within four. The officials were also tight on the whistle as Roberts ended up with his second with less than 13 minutes left in the first half which sent him to the bench.
Seattle U entered the bonus less then seven seconds (of game clock later) as it sent Brown to the charity stripe. He sank both free throws to cut the lead to two at 12-10, WSU.
Bomba, who had come in for Roberts, responded with a three ball from near the scorers table to push the Cougar lead back to five as the game headed into the under 12 media timeout. Out of the timeout Bamba hit his second straight three-pointer to make it 18-10.
WSU won the first tip. But it didn’t lead to immediate points as the first score of the game came when Trammell sank a pair of free throws at 19:06. It marked the start of a 4-0 run for the RedHawks.
The Cougars first points of the game when Flowers hit a contested jumper from near the top of the key. Immediately on the other side of the court Trammell earned his second foul which sent him to the bench to take one of Seattle’s best shooters into foul trouble. Roberts tied it up on the next Washington State possession. Williams hit a pair of free throws to give WSU its first lead of the game.
It eventually became a 10-0 run to give the Cougs a 10-4 lead before the Redhawks were able to respond.
Post game thoughts
- WSU shot 33% from the charity stripe in the first half, and managed to improve its production from their to 57.6% with how it played in the second half. That’s not going to fly in conference play. It might be time to bring in a free throw coach.
- Dishon Jackson was absolutely impressive off of the bench as he finished one rebound off of the double-double. His defense in the paint was also impressive and I really, really am looking forward to seeing what he can do throughout the season.
- Trammell is one hell of a ball player for Seattle U, if the officials hadn’t called such a ticky-tacky game he would have had a much bigger influence on the outcome.
- Really have to love the fact that four Cougs — Roberts, Williams, Gueye, and Jackson — scored double digits on Friday night. The depth on this roster is absolutely insane.
- Kyle Smith’s squad is 2-0 with both wins coming by double digits. While there is still a lot to work on, it’s hard to complain about that.
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Photo Credit: WSU Men’s basketball