It would be accurate to say Washington State’s efforts from the 3-point line have both rescued and doomed the Cougars at certain points of the 2020 season.
With leg two of the 2020 rivalry series approaching – a 5 p.m. tipoff Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena – we combed every box score since 2000 and picked out 10 games where the effort of a single player was as noteworthy as the game itself.
Behind its stout play in the post and strong 3-point shooting, Stanford commandeered an early lead against WSU and never relinquished it, completing a regular season sweep of the Cougars with a 75-57 win that handed Kyle Smith’s team – playing again without starting point guard Isaac Bonton (hip) – a fourth consecutive loss.
Since Jeff Pollard can’t drum up the right word to describe his four years at Washington State, the senior forward has another proposition. “How about a phrase?” Pollard suggests, hunched in a seat just behind the baseline at Beasley Coliseum as teammates carry out a 3-point shooting drill in the foreground.
Count Kyle Smith as one of the few Inland Northwest residents who would’ve been overjoyed to see the University of San Francisco hang on Thursday night to stun second-ranked Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Washington State has effectively rounded out its 2020 recruiting class, receiving a commitment Friday from Jefferson Koulibaly, a long and explosive point guard from Canada.
Bonton’s been key in helping create opportunities for his Washington State teammates and he’s one of just a few Cougars who can manufacture offense for himself. Which is why Bonton’s value to this WSU team may actually be best measured in the games he’s missed.
The Cougars may have to find alternative ways of manufacturing offense Wednesday night against Cal, but they expect to have Bonton back in the fold for the last home game of the regular season, on Sunday against Stanford, and for three final road games, at Washington, Arizona and Arizona State.
Daniel Utomi scored season-high 23 points and the Southern California defense did the rest in a 70-51 victory over Washington State
Cody Riley scored 11 of his 19 points in overtime to lead UCLA to a 86-83 win over Washington State on Thursday night.
Isaac Bonton’s basketball schedule is conflicting with his basketball schedule. There’s an obligation in Saturday night at Galen Coliseum in Los Angeles. There’s another one Sunday morning in the Tri Cities.
There weren’t too many cracks in Washington State’s defense during Sunday’s rivalry win over Washington. Kyle Smith hopes he can say the same thing about the Cougars on Thursday night after playing UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.