Washington hoped that a week off would help the team recover a little of their lost mojo but instead they once again fell apart late in a 79-67 loss in Pullman to Washington State. Seattle native C.J Elleby ripped apart the Husky defense with a career high 34 points on 6/9 shooting from deep for the Cougs. Washington falls to 12-12 (2-9) as their losing streak extends to 6 games.
The opening possession for each team demonstrated how this one was going to go for the Huskies as Marcus Tsohonis threw the ball away and WSU came down in transition to hit a banked 3-pointer. Washington State added 4 points from O’Dea grad and true freshman Noah Williams to jump out to an early 7-3 lead. Washington countered with a layup by Tsohonis and a 3-pointer by Isaiah Stewart to take it’s first lead at 8-7.
C.J Elleby though began to assert his dominance for Washington State as he nailed a pair of deep 3’s, knocked down a pair of free throws, and blocked a few Husky shots on the way to building up a 21-11 advantage for Washington State. Luckily for the Dawgs though Elleby picked up a 2nd foul with 12:25 remaining in the first half and in his absence the Cougar offense completely fell apart. Wazzu went almost 6 minutes without scoring but the Huskies didn’t do that much better as they managed just 9 points in that time to bring the score within a single point.
WSU head coach Kyle Smith knew that the Cougs had no chance with Elleby out of the game and reinserted him about 4 minutes later and he continued to ravage the Huskies. Over the final 7 minutes of the first half he had 10 points including another pair of 3-pointers to carry the Cougars. Washington was able to find a little bit of offensive flow though as Jaden McDaniels started to heat up and they regained the lead briefly before allowing a 5-0 run to WSU to close out the half. WSU went to the break up 38-33 sparked by Elleby’s 18.
Washington got out to an ideal start to the second frame as Naz Carter nailed a 3 and then Jamal Bey grabbed a steal and took it all the way to tie the game at 38 less than a minute into the half. The teams traded baskets for the next 4 minutes as neither side gained a lead of greater than 1 point until Washington State hit a corner 3-pointer with about 15:30 left to put the Cougars up 46-44.
After a split pair of Tsohonis free throws brought the Dawgs to within one, C.J Elleby decided to take over the game yet again. He hit a heavily contested deep 3-pointer and scored 4 points on a pair of fast break chances in just over a minute. A lazy pass by Marcus Tsohonis was stolen by Noah Williams leading to a fastbreak dunk and Washington State took a 10 point lead at 60-50 with 9:40 remaining.
Naz Carter refused to let Washington go down without a fight as on 3 consecutive possession he hit a midrange pull up jumper, drew a charge, and made an and-1 layup for 5 quick points. Isaiah Stewart seemingly had a dunk to draw the Dawgs within 3 but he couldn’t quite handle the lob entry pass and instead resulted in a turnover. The Cougars took advantage as they got fouled on the next 4 possessions but missed a few free throws (finally) and couldn’t extend the lead beyond 9 points.
With two and a half minutes remaining Jaden McDaniels swished a 3-pointer and was fouled to draw the Dawgs within 4. On the next possession though C.J Elleby forced up a layup in triple coverage and it rolled around and went down to put things away for the Cougars. But because we can’t get through a game without a Jaden controversy, he was reviewed for a flagrant foul with 1:09 left going for a block when his arm missed the ball and hit Isaac Bonton hard with the follow through (it ultimately wasn’t called).
Washington’s next game comes at USC on Thursday night.
Double Bonus Dots
- Freshman RaeQuan Battle played only the final 12 seconds. He has by far the best +/- on the team over the past month. We’ll see if Hopkins explains it post-game but unless there was an injury or discipline situation it doesn’t make any sense that he was only available to come in and take a 3 when down double digits in the closing seconds.
- Hameir Wright has been a bright spot the last few weeks but he was benched for much of this game and finished with 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, and 0 blocks.
- Washington State consistently doubled Isaiah Stewart every time he touched the ball and he was unable to pass out of it and find open shooters. Stewart resorted to taking a ton of jump shots and while he hit a couple of them it resulted in a 3/10 shooting performance. He still finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds but had 5 turnovers.
- Naz Carter was benched for much of the first half after picking up 2 fairly quick fouls but took over with 18 points in the second half. He once again showed remarkable inconsistency at the foul line going 3/6 from the charity stripe and it doesn’t look like he’s going to grow to be more than the 63% foul shooter he’s been his entire UW career.
- Marcus Tsohonis started off hot from the field but ended the night just 5/13 with 3 turnovers and several missed open 3’s in the second half which the team badly needed.
- C.J Elleby and Noah Williams were a pair of Seattle players that were ranked around 300th nationally and didn’t end up with a spot on UW’s roster. They combined for 44 of WSU’s 79 points with 16 rebounds and 4 steals. Losing to Washington State is bad. Losing to them while getting your ass kicked by Seattle area talent that you let get away is so much worse.
- The Cougars ended the night 24/28 from the free throw line while the Dawgs were just 10/17.