ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Josh Hawkinson scored a career-high 29 points and added 14 rebounds, as Washington State downed Montana 87-63 Saturday in a consolation-round game at the Paradise Jam tournament.
Conor Clifford added 12 points, Malachi Flynn had 11 and Charles Callison 10 for the Cougars (3-1), who went up 41-20 by the halftime break and led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
“After taking a tough loss last night (to No. 22 Creighton), we knew we had to bounce back,” Hawkinson said. “It’s hard to double two big guys inside. With Conor being the inside presence that he is, he allows me to get open shots.”
Jared Samuelson had 14 points and Ahmaad Rorie 10 for the Grizzlies (0-4), who shot just 34.8 percent from the field (23 of 66) and made 7 of 27 3-pointers.
“We were just flat, a letdown from last night (a loss to N.C. State),” Montana coach Travis DeCuire said. “We just didn’t make shots. That’s been an issue for us this year. We have to get the ball going through the basket again.”
Hawkinson had a double-double in the first half, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. That, and a 14-3 run over a six-minute span early in the first half, staked Washington State to a double-digit lead it would never relinquish.
The Cougars took their biggest lead in the final two minutes, with Viont’e Daniels’ 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining giving Washington State an 87-59 lead.
Washington State: Even with the win, the work of rebuilding the Cougars continues in their third season with Ernie Kent as coach. Last year, WSU opened with four straight wins, and was 8-4 heading into its Pac-12 schedule. But the Cougars went 1-17 in conference play, and finished the year 9-21.
Montana: The Grizzlies are off to first 0-4 start since the 1971-72 season under then-coach Jud Heathcote. That year’s team went on to finish the season above .500, at 14-12.
Washington State: Will play Loyola-Chicago in the tournament’s fifth-place game Monday.
Montana: Faces Oral Roberts in the tournament’s seventh-place game Monday.
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