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Sports >  WSU basketball

‘We came out firing and never let up’: Washington State plays complete game, blasts Colorado

Jan. 30, 2022 Updated Sun., Jan. 30, 2022 at 10:47 p.m.

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Washington State put forth an all-around effort and picked up a wire-to-wire win.

The Cougars clicked in every phase Sunday night, blasting Pac-12 foe Colorado 70-43 at Beasley Coliseum.

WSU (12-7, 5-3) stretched its winning streak to three and stopped a three-game skid in its series with the Buffaloes (13-8, 5-6), capturing its first victory over CU since the 2020 Pac-12 tournament.

The short-handed Buffs were held to season lows in scoring and field-goal percentage (28.6%). They got off to a 2-for-11 start and never managed to find any kind of flow offensively.

The Cougs raced ahead on an 18-1 run early and didn’t look back en route to one of their more impressive results this season. The hosts led by as many as 35 points with seven minutes remaining.

“I feel like we came out firing and just never let up,” guard Tyrell Roberts said.

WSU shot over 50% for much of the contest, shared its scoring, contested CU attempts all night and crashed the boards, outrebounding CU by nine. The Cougars forced 16 takeaways and went 12 for 29 from downtown.

Senior WSU guard Michael Flowers hit 4 of 7 from distance and paced all players with 16 points, adding five assists and five rebounds. Forward Andrej Jakimovski continued his stellar stretch of play, totaling 14 points (4 of 8) and 10 boards. Roberts and fellow guard Noah Williams chipped in 10 points apiece and combined for seven assists. Post Efe Abogidi added nine points, blocked two shots and snatched 11 boards, seven offensively.

“Hopefully, as this program matures, we’re more like that – five guys getting close to double figures,” Smith said.

The 27-point margin of victory was WSU’s largest ever in its 24-game history against CU. It also marked the Cougs’ most lopsided win of the year versus a Pac-12 opponent.

“We’ve had some games where we really separated and kept the hammer down. We’ve also had some games where we had big leads and gave them up,” Smith said. “It’s a funny thing, but as we know each other better – what our strengths are – we’ll get better and hopefully have some more results like that.”

Standout forward Jabari Walker recorded 11 points to lead the Buffs, who were playing without starting senior guard Elijah Parquet and forward Tristan da Silva.

Walker and veteran CU big man Evan Battey had bullied WSU’s frontcourt Jan. 6 during an 83-78 Buffaloe triumph in Boulder, combining for 36 points on 14 of 19 shooting. In the rematch, the two were limited to 16 points on 7 of 15.

WSU buried the Buffs by the half, ballooning its lead over 20 points after a gritty sequence with about a minute left in the first. The Cougs pulled down three offensive boards on the same possession, which also featured three 3-point tries from Jakimovski within 15 seconds. He rattled in his third consecutive attempt, then pumped his fist as the approximately 2,500 in attendance realized the rout was on.

“To get a play like that is really spirit-breaking for the other team,” Flowers said. “They were looking for a way to get into the game at that moment and for us to keep getting a rebound, keep getting another shot and another shot, and for him to finally make it, that was a real good momentum (boost) for us.”

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