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Sports >  WSU basketball

‘We had to make sure we showed up’: Washington State big men Mouhamed Gueye, Efe Abogidi shine in Cougar win over Washington

Feb. 23, 2022 Updated Wed., Feb. 23, 2022 at 11:44 p.m.

Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye, right, shoots over Washington forward Nate Roberts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. Washington State won 78-70.  (Associated Press)
Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye, right, shoots over Washington forward Nate Roberts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. Washington State won 78-70. (Associated Press)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Washington State posts Mouhamed Gueye and Efe Abogidi erupted out of their recent funk and lifted the Cougars out of their slump.

“It’s the Apple Cup. We had to make sure we showed up,” Gueye said after the Cougs snapped a five-game skid with a 78-70 win over Washington on Wednesday at a euphoric Beasley Coliseum.

Gueye, a freshman, exploited soft spots in Washington’s zone defense all night and poured in a career-high 25 points on midrange jumpers. Abogidi also posted a career outing, registering 21 points and 14 rebounds – a staggering 10 offensively.

“Efe was tremendous on the offensive boards,” coach Kyle Smith said. “Mouhamed really stuck to the game plan. They were pretty much daring him to make his shots, and he made enough.”

Gueye had been held to 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting over his past three games. Abogidi failed to score in three of the Cougars’ past four games, shooting 2 of 17 in that stretch.

WSU ball-handlers fed the ball persistently to Gueye. The 6-11 freshman from Senegal carved out room near the free-throw line on the majority of possessions and used his long arms to shoot above overmatched defenders. He shot 11 of 23 from the floor – almost every attempt coming from about 12 feet away.

“I was surprised I was that wide open,” Gueye said. “I’m not used to that. When I realized I was open all the time, I kept shooting. Every time you see a shot go in, you see your confidence go up.

“That was definitely the game plan.”

Abogidi, a sophomore out of Nigeria, returned to high-flying form, bouncing through traffic for Gueye’s misses and finishing at the rim. He shot 7 of 9.

“They weren’t boxing me out,” Abogidi said. “I was just wide open for rebounds. That’s my job: Get the ball every time it goes up.”

Williams held UW guard Terrell Brown Jr., the conference’s leading scorer entering the game (21.8 ppg), to 11 points. Three Huskies scored in double figures, with PJ Fuller’s 23 points leading the way.

The Cougars (15-12, 8-8 Pac-12) and Huskies (13-13, 8-8) found themselves deadlocked at 33 after an efficient first half from the rivals. The hosts stormed to a 12-point lead early in the second period after an Abogidi jam, another soft jumper from Gueye and back-to-back 3s from Tyrell Roberts and Seattle native Noah Williams.

But UW found soft spots in WSU’s zone too and crept back, trimming its deficit to one possession after 10 minutes in the half. Gueye made five foul-line jumpers the rest of the way and guard Michael Flowers (12 points, seven assists) knocked down clutch free throws late to help WSU pull away on a 7-0 run over the final 2:10, sending a spirited crowd of 4,510 into a frenzy.

“Nice win for our program obviously anytime you play your rival,” said Smith, who improved to 4-1 against UW in three years as Cougs coach.

WSU and Washington square off again at 3 p.m. Saturday in Seattle.

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