Washington hoped to close out the season on a positive note on senior night back at home. Any notion of that was dismissed immediately as the Cougars pounced on Washington instantly and UW was never able to recover in a game the Dawgs never led. Washington State did whatever they wanted all night against a hapless Husky defense. The 93-84 loss in the regular season finale drops Washington to 16-15 (9-11) on the season.
After the Huskies got torched by ball movement and 3’s in their last game by Stanford, Washington State picked up right where the Cardinal left off. The Cougars got out to an early 19-3 lead on the back of 9 points on 3/3 shooting from deep by Justin Powell. It looked like the Huskies would roll over and end this season with a whimper.
They slowly fought their way back into the game as the Cougars finally started to miss some 3’s while Washington made a few. The Dawgs started out 4/8 from deep including a banked in shot by Koren Johnson that cut the lead down to 26-21. Koren had a chance to cut it to 3 but missed a transition layup and it gave numbers the other way for Wazzu who took advantage with a layup to end UW’s run.
T.J Bamba started to take over for Washington State as he hit consecutive 3-pointers in between a Bajema 3 to extend the Cougar lead into double digits each time. Washington though ended the first half on a high note as Menifield made a 3-pointer and Keion Brooks hit an and-1. That mini 6-0 run brought the Huskies within 5 points at halftime trailing 42-37.
Bamba picked up right where he left off after the break. He scored WSU’s first 7 points in less than 3 minutes to start the 2nd half. Keyon Menifield had a chance at a fast break layup to cut it back to 5 points but missed it and WSU instantly hustled back with a numbers advantage making a 3-pointer to get the lead to double digits for WSU.
Every time it seemed like Washington was making a run, the Cougs would answer and usually it was T.J Bamba. The Huskies switched to man with WSU eviscerating the zone but it didn’t really do any good. Koren Johnson attempted a fast break floater but it was no good and once again WSU took advantage by pushing the ball and found an easy layup to make it a 9-point Husky deficit instead of 5 points. Koren poked the ball away from Bamba on the perimeter but couldn’t get to it in time diving on the floor. That allowed Bamba to drive and he made an and-1 layup over Braxton Meah to get to 30 points with 11 minutes remaining.
Mike Hopkins called timeout following a Keion Brooks baseline jumper which made it 69-59 to try to regroup. It didn’t work as WSU immediately hit another 3-pointer then Bamba drove for a floater and just like that the Cougars had their biggest lead of the game at 15 points. Washington never got it closer than 10 points the rest of the way until the final 30 seconds (within 9 points) as any WSU miss was seemingly followed by an easy offensive rebound and putback.
Keion Brooks Jr. led the Huskies in scoring with 22 points but he had 5 turnovers with several of them occurring during the initial WSU 19-3 run. Jamal Bey had one of his better offensive nights of the season in his final home game with 17 points on 6/8 shooting including 3/3 from deep. Koren Johnson and Keyon Menifield each finished in double figures but each finished shooting 5/12 from the field having missed several shots at the rim that could’ve swung momentum.
The big problem though was with the defense. Washington State finished shooting 12/29 (41%) from 3-point range but managed to also dominate on the offensive glass. The Cougars had 18 offensive rebounds on just 32 missed shots and finished +11 overall in rebounds. T.J Bamba finished with 36 points on 13/20 shooting for the Cougars.
This game was ultimately irrelevant for the purposes of Pac-12 tournament seeding. If Colorado beats Utah at home on Saturday then the Huskies will play Colorado who they have beat twice so far this year. If Stanford loses to Oregon then UW will also play Colorado. If Stanford though beats Oregon and Utah beats Colorado then the Huskies will play the Cardinal for the 3rd time. That 8 vs. 9 game will happen next Wednesday afternoon.
Now the Huskies will hope that an extra week of rest will allow Noah Williams or P.J Fuller to get healthy and return to action. Meanwhile, the only real drama left with the regular season over is to see what changes might happen along the coaching staff. Because the last 2 games certainly didn’t do anything to change anyone’s mind that the ship is currently rutterless.