KENNEWICK – Washington State shook off a slow start before pulling away in the second half for an 80-50 nonconference basketball victory over San Francisco State on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center.
After trailing most of the first half, the Cougars outscored the Gators 37-19 in the second half on their way to their third straight win.
“I don’t think we came out with the energy I hoped for on offense,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said. “We were a little passive on the offensive end.”
Washington State (6-4) hit just 3 of its first 11 shots from the field and watched San Francisco State use its zone to control the game early.
Then in the span of about two minutes, DaVonte Lacy changed all of that. The junior guard hit three 3s during that spurt, leading WSU on a 13-3 run to end any notion of an upset bid. WSU led 43-31 at halftime.
Lacy scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, including hitting 4 of 9 behind the arc.
“We played hard those last five minutes,” Lacy said. “That’s the way we want to play.”
Royce Woolridge added 10 points as 11 different Cougars scored. Udun Osakue led the Gators (4-3) with 11 points.
“At the beginning we weren’t being very aggressive in the zone,” Woolridge said.
The aggression missing most of the first half was not in the final 25 minutes as the Cougars used their size and athleticism to wear down the smaller Gators.
WSU opened the second half on a 25-9 run and led by as many as 30 points as the Cougars emptied its bench. The Cougars defense also picked things up in the second half, holding San Francisco State to just six field goals.
The Gators shot just 6 of 26 from the field in the final 20 minutes, scoring just 19 points. For the game, they were 18 of 52 (34.6 percent).
The Cougars, after a cold-shooting start, hit 12 of their final 16 shots in the first half and finished the game 30 of 65 (46.2 percent) from the field.
The Cougars return to Beasley Coliseum on Saturday night to play host to UTEP, with their Pac-12 opener against top-ranked Arizona looming on the horizon in two weeks.
“We are trying to get better and better every game,” said D.J. Shelton, who finished with 9 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
WSU women win
Lia Galdeira scored 23 of her team-high 26 points after intermission to lead Washington State to a 77-73 victory over UC Riverside in nonconference women’s basketball at the Toyota Center opener.
With the victory, the Cougars improved to 6-5 while the loss dropped the Highlanders to 4-6. It also avenged a 71-65 loss to UC Riverside in Southern California last season.
Tia Presley finished with 24 points and a team-high 11 rebounds to record the first double-double by a Cougar this season.