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LAS VEGAS – Let’s try this again.
Isaac Bonton missed seven games and a crucial stretch of the Pac-12 schedule with sprained ankles, but the Washington State guard still performed well enough in the 19 games he did play in to All-Pac-12 Second Team selection.
Isaac Bonton may be down to his final games in a Washington State uniform, but the Cougars are already bracing for the potential departure of their senior point guard.
While many bracketologists already have Washington State penciled into the 2021 NCAA Tournament field, Kamie Ethridge and the Cougars still have another opportunity to make sure they'll be playing meaningful basketball two weeks from now.
Washington State’s young players were plucky in many of the game’s important moments, but it was a fourth-year senior point guard from Arizona State who came up with the biggest play in the most crucial moment of a 77-74 overtime victory for the Sun Devils against the Cougars.
They hoped to carry the momentum they'd built from a weekend sweep of the Bay Area schools. Instead, the Washington State Cougars reverted to the team that lost six consecutive Pac-12 games from Jan. 9-27.
One of them is averaging 19.5 points per game in Pac-12 Conference play – the second-highest mark in the league. The other is coming off the most productive weekend by a Washington State player in program history.
For the second time in as many days, Washington State's Noah Williams has been recognized as the national player of the week in college basketball.
Washington State's regular season won't conclude with a single game at Arizona State, but rather a two-game series with the Sun Devils in Tempe.
Many anticipated that Noah Williams would be in line for conference player of the week honors after posting career-high scoring performances against Cal and Stanford, but the Washington State guard was also recognized nationally for what he did in a weekend sweep.
They showed the potential of a team that will have the chance to sit on an NCAA bubble at some point in the not-so-distant future. For now, Noah Williams and Washington State will have to settle with bursting the bubbles of their opposition.
It's the most predictable aspect of every game for Noah Williams. The Washington State guard may not be able to anticipate when he'll score 20 points or when he'll go ice cold; when his verbal jabs will warrant a technical foul or when officials will look the other way; when his defense will erase the opponent's best scorer, or when it'll slip. But, without failure, Williams can always expect the call that comes afterward.
Three games ago, Noah Williams scored eight points for Washington State before fouling out of a win over UCLA. Two games ago, the Washington State guard went just 2 of 13 from the field, scoring four points in a loss to USC. In his last game, the sophomore let a former AAU teammate, Washington's Marcus Tsohonis, blow by him for the game-winner in a two-point loss to WSU's in-state rival.
In many ways, Washington State's young basketball team has matured and developed since its season opener against Texas Southern nearly three months ago.
PULLMAN – It was the predominant question beforehand: With Washington State’s Isaac Bonton and Washington’s Quade Green unavailable for Monday’s game between the Cougars and Huskies, which player(s) would carry the baton?
Isaac Bonton won't suit up in tonight's Apple Cup rematch, but the impact of losing the senior point guard should be somewhat offset by a key injury for Washington State's opponent.
Seldom this season has Washington State been a team to live and die by the 3-pointer. Even then, it buried the Cougars Saturday night in a rematch with the best team in the conference.
The high-variance nature of Isaac Bonton's game means the Washington State point guard is susceptible to the occasional off-night. It also means Bonton doesn't often have two in a row.
When evaluating Thursday's game between Washington State and UCLA, it may be easy to revert to the first contest between the Cougars and Bruins in order to anticipate what will happen in the rematch.
Early in the nonconference season, the Washington State Cougars demonstrated they could win games without the best version of Isaac Bonton.