CJ Elleby must have been saving it for something special.
Washington State’s standout sophomore had spent enough time flirting with his first 30-point game, scoring 27 on four occasions this season and 26 in another last year.
The third-leading scorer in the Pac-12 was bound to reach 30 eventually and Elleby finally broke through 2 1/2 weeks ago, against a sputtering Washington team. The crafty forward hit six 3-pointers over the Huskies’ staunch 2-3 zone, and made them pay seemingly every time he slipped through the defense to drive the lane.
Elleby’s statement against the Huskies was 34 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 6 of 9 from 3, 10 of 10 from the foul line, 10 rebounds, two assists, three blocks and one steal.
It was the latest in a series of notable individual performances by Cougar and Husky players in the Apple Cup. With Leg 2 of the 2020 rivalry series approaching – a 6 p.m. tipoff Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena – we combed every box score since 2000 and picked out 10 games in which the effort of a single player was as noteworthy as the game itself.
2020 – Elleby’s 34 points pace Cougs
On Friday, when the Cougars and Huskies throw down in Seattle, the Seattle native and Cleveland High graduate should reach another milestone. The sophomore, averaging 18.7 points per game, is seven away from reaching 1,000 points in his career. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without his eruption against the Huskies earlier in the month, which vaulted WSU to a 79-67 win and signified the second-highest scoring game by a UW opponent since coach Mike Hopkins took over in 2017.
2017 – Fultz nears triple-double
The first pick of the 2017 NBA draft only played against the Cougars once because of an injury that kept him on the bench for a good chunk of his only season in Seattle. The Huskies lost both meetings in Lorenzo Romar’s final season, but Markelle Fultz was marvelous in the first game and fell one rebound short of what would’ve been the first triple-double in program history. The guard scored 26 points and added 11 assists, nine rebounds and two blocks in a 79-74 loss.
2016 – Andrews and Hawkinson, Part One
It’s worth debating who was more productive in the first 2016 meeting between the Cougars and Huskies: UW guard Andrew Andrews or WSU forward Josh Hawkinson. Andrews was no doubt the offensive MVP in the Huskies’ 99-95 overtime triumph, scoring 29 points while dishing seven assists. But Hawkinson more than held his own on defense, snatching just about every rebound within a body length of him. He had 20 in total to complement his 21 points – half of which came from the free-throw line. Andrews was the difference, though, making two of his 13 free throws in the extra period to lift UW.
2016 – Andrews and Hawkinson, Part Two
In his final four games against the Cougars, Andrews scored 123 points – getting more than a fourth of that production in Round 2 of the 2016 series. UW, again, finished with 99 points, winning 99-91, and close to half of that came from Andrews, who had 47 points and the most by a Husky since 1969. Andrews made five 3-pointers and went 16 of 17 from the free-throw line, though the Cougars didn’t leave without offering some resistance. Hawkinson had an efficient 23 points, on 9 of 14 from the field, and his 17 rebounds were more than double what any other player had.
2015 – Williams-Goss leaves his mark
WSU’s rivalry with Gonzaga was put on indefinite hold after Nigel Williams-Goss’ redshirt season in Spokane, but he still got four games against the Cougars in 2014 and ’15. If not for some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch from Davonte Lacy in a 80-77 WSU win, the game ball would’ve gone to the UW guard, who led all players in scoring, with 30 points, as well as assists with six. Williams-Goss played all 40 minutes and rounded out his stat line with three steals and one blocked shot.
2015 – That Andrews guy … again
Andrews had scored 20 points just once during UW’s seven-game Pac-12 slump in 2015, but the Huskies won for the first time in exactly a month when the junior guard scored 35 points at Beasley Coliseum, and made a decisive 3-pointer with less than 5 seconds to play, sending the Huskies to an 87-84 win. Andrews had his season high, shooting 11 of 18 from the field, 6 of 12 from the 3-point line and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. The Portland native had scored just 12 points against the Cougars earlier in the season.
2014 – Shelton does it all
After losing six consecutive games to the Huskies, the Cougars were determined to get on track, especially with Lacy making his long-awaited return after missing eight games due to appendicitis. But it wasn’t Lacy, rather D.J. Shelton, who carried WSU to the finish line in a 72-67 victory. Shelton wasn’t the game’s leading scorer, but he had 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and was a hound on the glass, coming away with 18 rebounds to go along with four steals and three assists.
2011 – Thomas, Thompson & a Staples thriller
A couple of future NBA All-Stars went head-to-head for the final time as college players in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center. Klay Thompson took nearly 50% of WSU’s shots and scored almost half of the Cougars’ points, setting a conference tournament scoring record with 43 points, on 15-of-29 shooting from the field and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc. But on a night that saw all five UW starters finish in double figures, Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas had the final laugh, notching 21 points, 11 assists and three steals in an 89-87 win that all but wiped out WSU’s March Madness plans.
2006 – Akognon’s late push
The game’s leading scorers both finished with 27 points, but a 10th-ranked UW team led by future NBA player Brandon Roy couldn’t hold off Josh Akognon and WSU. It was a historical night for the Cougars, who’d never won a road game – and had lost 52 straight – against teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press since the poll’s debut in January 1949. Akognon was the high scorer and the hero for WSU, coming off the bench to score 27 points, which included a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and two late free throws. The Cougars came back from 13 points down to win in Seattle for the first time in 12 years.
2002 – Moore does the most
The Cougars were trapped in a 12-game funk when they hosted the Huskies in January 2002. High-scoring guard Marcus Moore was determined not to let 12 become 13 and scored 28 points while grabbing eight rebounds and serving up four assists. Moore did much of his work from the free-throw line, where he was 11 of 13, but was also fortunate the Huskies’ missed two freebies with three-tenths of a second left after fouling Will Conroy. The game’s leading scorer was in a purple uniform, as Doug Wrenn scored 34 points to go with four assists.
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