After a heart breaking loss to Eastern last week, Washington State men’s basketball (6-1) held Arizona State (2-6) to its fewest points in the shot clock era with a 51-29 win to open up conference play. While ASU was able to cut the lead down to two at one point in the second half, the Cougars built their lead back up to eight by the intermission then came out of the half on a 10-2 run to take control.
Noah Williams got the ball up near the rim for Efe Abogidi. But Abogidi was fouled on the set piece out of the under eight media timeout in the second half. On the inbounds play WSU missed a shot but Williams quickly drew a charge near the mid court line as ASU tried to rush down the court. Abogidi hit the rim on a step back three but it didn’t fall.
Arizona State’s offensive possession ended with another shot clock violation as the three pointer was wide right. Unfortunately the Cougars next possession ended with an offensive foul on Williams that sent him to the bench. Sparky quickly drained a three on their next possession. That was followed up by a long two point jumper and all of the sudden ASU was on a 5-0 run in the middle of a three-plus minute scoring drought for the Cougars.
The drought continued for Washington State as a battle for a rebound turned into a jump ball with the possession arrow in ASU’s favor. It led to a wide open three that was too hard as it hit the back rim. Flower hit the rim as the shot clock expired, DJ Rodman pulled in the rebound and hit the layup as he drew a foul for the and-one…which he hit.
WSU reeled off the next five points after that free throw before Arizona State got back onto the board with a pair of free throws. With less than a minute left the Cougs emptied out their bench. The Sun Devils hit a two point jumper and then Washington State ran out the clock for the final margin.
The Sun Devils got a wide open three after the WSU defender attempted to pick off a pass, it missed. Roberts responded with a quick three point attempt that missed for the Cougs. That quickly turned into a made midrange jumper to cut the Washington State lead to 19. And then a bunch of sloppy turnovers for both teams led to a quick bucket for ASU at 37-20.
Fortunately for the Cougars, Roberts hit a three off of a brilliant screen to make it 40-20 before Kyle Smith took a timeout.
After the timeout, Arizona State was able to collapse the WSU defense for an open three at in front of the Sun Devils bench but it clanked off of the rim. After Gueye pulled in the offensive board, Abofidi got the ball out to Michael Flowers for a three to make it a 23 point Cougar lead. An away from the ball foul led us to the under eight second half media timeout with Washington State up 43-20.
Sparky hit a midrange jumper to open up play after the media timeout to end the Cougars 8-0 run. That was quickly followed up by a Williams turnover and a blocked shot that was corralled by WSU. Williams responded to that turnover with a three pointer to make it 31-14 Washington State.
A pair of three point attempts for both squads bounced off the rims. But a scoring drought was avoided by a quickly bucket in transition for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils had another one shot and done possession which was quickly followed up by a Williams drive that ended with a defensive foul. He hit the second of the two free throws as the lead was at 15. Washington State’s defense forced a shot clock violation as the deep shot was short.
Flowers manages to get himself a wide open midrange jumper that went in and out. Fortunately for the Cougs, Mouhamed Gueye got the offensive board and hit the follow-up jumper to make it 35-16 with 11:41 left. Abogidi kept up the offensive pressure as he hit his second shot attempt of the game to make it a 21 point WSU lead as we headed into the second half’s under 12 media timeout
Washington Start started the second half with a possession that led to a Tyrell Roberts missed open three. On the defensive end of the court, the Cougars quickly forced a turnover. Which led to a defensive foul that sent Jackson to the line; he hit both shots from the stripe to make it a 20-10 Cougars lead.
An offensive on ASU foul follows the free throws. Jackson tried to drive into the paint but his shot was quickly corralled by the Sun Devils which led to their first bucket of the half.
Williams quickly hit a three pointer after the ASU bucket. Both offenses played with a quicker tempo and more aggressively after that disappointing first half. This led to Gueye drew a foul that sent him to the charity stripe. He hit one of two to get the WSU lead up to 12.
The freshmen swatted a shot out bounds on the defensive end of the court. While ASU maintained possession, it ended up with a bad shot as the shot clock expired. WSU quickly turned that into a Jackson layup off of the offensive board. After another empty possession for the Sun Devils, Gueye drove down the lane for a dunk to make it 28-12 as the Cougars were on a 10-2 run to open up the second half.
Arizona State took a timeout with 16:07 left and WSU on an 8-0 run in the last two minutes of the game.
While the Sun Devils had good ball movement on their offensive possession out of the timeout. It quickly turned into the under 18 media timeout after a pass was swatted out of bounds by WSU.
The poor free throw shooting continued as the Sun Devils missed two free throws as both teams moved to 0-11 from the stripe. Roberts had a shot blocked, then the ASU pass was picked off by Williams then hit the lay-up to push the Cougar lead to four. Unfortunately the poor shooting continued for WSU after a Sun Devils turnover.
Williams was the beneficiary of a horrifically bad defensive foul when he slipped which sent him to the line. The Junior hit the first free throw of the game and then hit the second as the Cougars now lead 16-10 with 1:40 left.
A hilariously missed layup in transition for Arizona State led to Williams losing control of the ball during transition himself. Both teams began to press on the offensive side of the court as there was less than a minute left in the first half.
This included a Williams hitting a jumper from the stripe as he tried to draw a foul. Washington State’s defense forced a contested shot with three seconds left that was no good and Flowers buzzer beater shot was no good as both squads headed into the locker room with the Cougars up 18-10.
WSU ended its 11 minute scoring drought when Abogidi hit a lay-up out of the under eight media timeout. The Sun Devils responded with their own jumper to make it 12-7 with 5:35 left in the half; this came after Abogidi took out Bamba as they both went for the defensive board.
On the offensive side of the court Bamba jacked up a three that hit the front of the rim and bounced back; Horn hit a three on the other side of the court to cut the WSU lead to two.
What was troubling was the continued poor free throw shooting by both squads as they were a combined 0-9 from the charity stripe. The final media timeout of the half came after a Cougar turnover with WSU up 12-10.
An empty Sun Devils’ offensive possession is what happened out of the under 12 timeout. Neither side was able to score out of the timeout as Roberts missed a midrange jumper for the Cougs. In fact, both sides had empty offensive possessions on their first four tries out of the timeout.
It’s not like either defense was particularly sharp for either Washington State or Arizona State during the drought — as it reached seven minutes. Clumsy turnovers, poor shots, and just unlucky rim bounces were the majority of the reason for it.
Arizona State hit a one footed jumper to end the scoring drought, which also meant that the Sun Devils were on a 5-0 run as they cut the lead to five. On the Cougars next possession Williams drew a defensive foul but he missed both free throws as Washington State’s drought continued.
Roberts got the ball to Gueye for an easy layup that rolled right off the rim and to an ASU defender. WSU’s drought continued despite Bamba coming back into the floor and having a three point attempt rim out. At the under eight media timeout it was still 10-5 WSU.
Out of the first media timeout Arizona State’s possession ended with an offensive foul. Sparky played an aggressive defense that forced a contested shot from near the charity stripe but it was too hard and quickly rebounded by ASU. A quick three point attempt was too hard for the Sun Devils which got the ball back to Washington State.
The passed three minutes (for both squads) after Bamba missed a pair of free throws for WSU.
It was a drought that continued to the under 12 media timeout — this included a handful of missed free throws on both squads. Worryingly, TJ Bamba went down hard scrambling for a loose ball and did not get up prior to the timeout; but it looked like he was accidentally poked in the eye as they battled for the rebound.
The opening tip went to WSU as Roberts quickly moved the ball. Jackson got the ball inside and rotated around to get Washington State it’s first bucket of the game with a easy short range jumper. On the defensive end of the court, a Sun Devil travel got the ball back into Cougar hands. Roberts made them pay with an uncontested three-pointer.
That three was followed up with another stop and a easy dunk for Jackson as Washington State opened up the game with a 7-0 run. Flowers missed a three which led to WSU’s first empty possession; but on the Cougs fifth possession of the game he got another opportunity and absolutely nailed it to make it 10-0.
The run came to an end with an ASU three from in the corner opposite the WSU bench. After an empty Cougar possession Sparky got the ball and drew a shooting foul so they send to the line; but they missed both shots.
At the first media timeout, it was WSU 10-3 after a handful of empty offensive possessions for both teams.