Washington State defeats Utah in the inaugural Cougar Hardwood Classic.
December 22, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) – Robbie Cowgill came all the way to Washington State from Austin, Texas, because coach Dick Bennett convinced him that he could turn around the long-suffering Cougars’ basketball program.
The Cougars showed their westside fans Thursday night that just might be possible this season.
Randy Green scored 15 points and Cowgill had 14, leading Washington State to a 69-42 victory over Utah in the Cougars’ first game at Key Arena, home of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics. The Cougars have signed a three-season contract to play one game each year in Seattle.
“Our goal is to get this program up to an elite status,” said Cowgill, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward who now weighs 210 pounds after arriving in Pullman at 180 last year. “That was coach Bennett’s major selling point. We want to turn this thing around together.”
The Cougars (7-2) wrapped up their nonconference schedule in impressive fashion against the Utes (6-4), notching their third win in a row after a 14-point loss to No. 8 Gonzaga.
Washington State also ended an 11-game losing streak in its series with Utah, winning for only the second time in 14 games against the Utes.
The Cougars will open their Pac-10 season against Arizona and Arizona State at home next week. They return to Seattle to face No. 9 Washington on Jan. 7.
Cowgill hopes the Cougars sent a strong message to the Huskies: “Tonight, I think we showed the whole Pac-10 that we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Derrick Low added 10 points for the Cougars, hitting a pair of 3-pointers.
Luke Nevill, a 7-foot-1 freshman center from Australia, came off the bench to lead Utah with 10 points, all in the second half.
Green gave the Cougars a 29-point lead — 43-14 — when he made a four-point play to open the second half. He hit a 3-pointer and made a foul shot after being fouled by Shaun Green.
The Cougars led 39-14 at halftime, after a 13-0 run that featured two 3-pointers by Josh Akognon put them ahead 23-7 with 8:32 left. The Utes shot just 6-for-16 in the first half.
Cowgill scored Washington State’s first 10 points in the first 6:19 and wound up with a dozen in the opening half.
He said he’s just starting to hit his stride after missing the first three games of the season with a cracked right clavicle suffered in practice before the season got under way.
Bennett thought so, too. In fact, he called it Cowgill’s best game as a member of the Cougars.
“He looked stronger than ever tonight,” Bennett said.
The Utes managed just 36 shots and 14 field goals in the game.
Utah coach Ray Giacoletti was distressed by his team’s showing.
“Until you have some fire and passion in you, it doesn’t matter what you do,” he said. “Right now, we don’t. We’re not looking for spurts. We’re looking for 40 minutes.”
The 42 points by Utah was its lowest total since the Utes scored 41 against UNLV on March 14, 2003.
The Utes had a 29-6 record and reached the regional semifinals in last season’s NCAA tournament, but lost The Associated Press Player of the Year, 7-foot sophomore center Andrew Bogut, to the NBA. Bogut was the first pick in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was the first meeting ever between the 62-year-old Bennett and Giacolletti. Bennett hasn’t said when he’s going to retire from coaching, but it could be this season. Then his son, Tony, a Cougars assistant, would step up to take his place.
Bennett arrived in Pullman three seasons ago, taking over a program that was 7-20 in 2002-2003. He previously coached at Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, guiding Wisconsin to the Final Four in the 1999-2000 season.
Bennett said he likes Washington State’s decision to play games in Seattle. Thursday night’s crowd was 5,496.
“On my fund-raising and promotional visits here, I always had the feeling that these folks would be behind us,” he said.
In attendance at the game was Seattle Seahawks center Robbie Tobek, who played college football at Washington State.
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Kyle Weaver leads the charge as WSU defeats San Diego State.
December 21, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) – Kyle Weaver went to coach Tony Bennett and asked for the chance to defend San Diego State’s standout guard Brandon Heath.
The request not only helped Washington State defensively, but ignited Weaver’s offense as well.
Weaver scored all 16 of his points in the second half, igniting a surge that carried the Cougars to a 64-54 win over San Diego State on Thursday night. The Cougars finished up the non-conference portion of their schedule 11-1, their best start since winning the first 12 games in 1991-92. Washington State opens Pac-10 Conference play next Thursday night at No. 1 UCLA.
“Anytime you have to guard somebody like that, you have to be aggressive like that, it flips offensively too,” Weaver said. “You have to be aggressive on offense.”
The Cougars got it done at both ends of the floor in the second half, rallying from a 33-23 halftime deficit and holding the Aztecs scoreless for a 10-minute stretch of the second half.
Washington State took its cue from Weaver, who scored 10 points in the first 7:14 of the second half, then clamped down on Heath, the all-time leading scorer in the Mountain West Conference.
Weaver’s intensity was the catalyst for a 21-0 Washington State run. Derrick Low‘s runner with 13:20 left pulled the Cougars even at 37-all. On the Cougars’ next possession Weaver was blocked, but stayed with the play, grabbed the loose ball and spun up a left-handed reverse layup to give Washington State its first lead since 15-13.
“We just had some more scrap and we’re not close to good enough if we don’t play with our hair on fire or whatever,” Washington State coach Bennett said of the second half. “They have to have that going for them on the defensive end or it’s really hard for us.”
The Cougars lead continued to grow as Nikola Koprivica and Robbie Cowgill and Low all drilled 3-pointers. Weaver’s two free throws with 6:41 left gave Washington State its biggest lead of 14 points. Ivory Clark capped the night by slamming home Low’s missed drive with 1:10 left.
Cowgill finished with a career-high 17 points and Koprivica added 11 as the Cougars shot 55 percent in the second half. Weaver also had 11 rebounds.
“We had a little energy and we just fought like dogs,” Weaver said.
Heath led the Aztecs (10-3) with 20 points, but went 17 minutes of the second half without scoring, as Aztecs’ coach Steve Fisher was denied his 300th career win. Fisher’s next chance will be Dec. 30 when the Aztecs host Lafayette.
Heath made a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, but shot just 2 of 7 in the second half and got very little help from his teammates. Mohamed Abukar finally broke the Aztecs’ scoring drought with a three-point play with 7:15 left. Abukar was the only other Aztec player in double figures with 12 points, but San Diego State shot only 45 percent, turned the ball over 20 times and was held 25 points under its season average.
“We did a poor job from our end of being poised under pressure. When they made a run and made a couple shots, then we tried to do things too fast,” Fisher said. “We turned it over, made passes that had no chance to be completed and took some shots that were ill-advised too.”
It was the second consecutive year the Cougars have played a home game at Seattle’s KeyArena. Last year, Washington State beat Utah 69-42.
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6th ranked Cougars take care of business against The Citadel
December 20, 2007
SEATTLE (AP) — Two years ago when Robbie Cowgill and Washington State came to play a non-conference game in Seattle for the first time, only 5,000 fans showed up.
On Thursday night, more than 12,000 loud and raucous fans came out to see the seventh-ranked Cougars, who easily routed The Citadel 67-45, improving to 10-0 for the first time in 16 years.
Cowgill was hounded afterward for autographs from crimson-clad kids who now idolize the Cougars’ hard-nosed defense and fundamental team play. Even Seattle SuperSonics rookie sensation Kevin Durant sat courtside nodding approval at the Cougars’ defensive effort.
“It’s definitely a little different,” Cowgill said. “Part of this rebuilding process is getting people back to believing in Cougar basketball.”
Consider The Citadel among the believers.
Aron Baynes scored 16 points and Daven Harmeling added 11 off the bench for Washington State. But it was at the defensive end where the Cougars were again impressive, and the Bulldogs became another exhibit.
The Bulldogs (4-6) were undersized and overmatched from the start, starting a lineup entirely of freshman, and were unable to establish any offensive consistency.
Washington State held The Citadel scoreless for the first 6:15 of the game and the final 6:58 of the first half. The Bulldogs were fortunate to be within 15 at halftime only because of hitting four 3-pointers in the first half, many of them from beyond the NBA’s 3-point line.
That’s how overwhelming the Cougars’ defense was. The Citadel’s best offense was often a rushed 3-point attempt taken well behind the NBA line on the KeyArena court.
If the first half wasn’t impressive enough, Washington State then held the Bulldogs without a point for 7 minutes of the second half, allowing coach Tony Bennett to empty his bench for the final 10 minutes.
“Every guy is sound and every guy takes pride in containing that ball out front,” Bulldogs’ coach Ed Conroy said. “You just know how they’re going to play. … They can really get to you. It’s a mental game when you play Washington State.”
While a good learning experience for Conroy’s team, the victory was another opportunity for the Cougars to smooth out the rough spots and settle their rotations with Pac-10 play starts in two weeks.
Washington State has just two more non-conference games — at Idaho State and against North Carolina A&T — before opening Pac-10 play back in Seattle on Jan. 5 against rival Washington.
“When you start Pac-10 play, it’s just another animal,” Bennett said. “The goal from today’s game is trying to find our stride, trying to get our rotation as solid as we can, [and] be good offensively and defensively.”
The Bulldogs’ strategy of tossing up deep 3-pointers anytime they were given the slightest bit of space worked for a while. The Bulldogs scored 13 straight points midway through the first half to pull even at 13-all. Phillip Pandak finally got The Citadel on the board with a 27-foot 3-pointer with 13:45 left in the first half. Quickly, the game was even and Bennett shook his head in the huddle throughout a timeout.
“It was kind of a little wake up,” Cowgill said.
But Washington State closed the first half on a 20-5 run, as the Cougars’ inside size advantage was simply too much for the overmatched Bulldogs. Baynes and Cowgill combined for 20 points and 13 rebounds in the first half.
The Cougars started the second half much the same, outscoring the Bulldogs 19-4 over the first 9 minutes to open a 30-point lead.
“To see the support means a lot,” Bennett said. “I told the guys in the locker room ‘You’ve established something.’ … It’s a great memory, probably one of the best memories I have.”
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Freshman Guard Klay Thomson leads all scorers in win over Montana State
December 13, 2008
SEATTLE (AP) — Daven Harmeling scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half, freshman Klay Thompson chipped in with 14 points, and Washington State rebounded from two straight losses with a convincing 70-51 win over Montana State on Saturday night.
Playing its annual game at Seattle’s KeyArena, Washington State started strong behind Harmeling’s early shooting and then pulled away in the second half as Thompson and Taylor Rochestie got started at the offensive end for the Cougars.
Rochestie finished with 11 points and Aron Baynes added nine for the Cougars (7-3).
Danny Piepoli led Montana State (4-4) with 14 points off the bench.
The Cougars were coming off consecutive losses to No. 22 Baylor and No. 4 Gonzaga, both at home. It was the first time WSU had lost back-to-back non-conference games since the 2004-05 season when the Cougars lost to Oklahoma State and Gonzaga in consecutive outings.
There wasn’t going to be a third straight setback. The Cougars made quick work of this one, jumping out to a 10-1 lead in the opening moments and never trailed after the first minute.
Harmeling set the tone with a pair of quick 3-pointers, and WSU led 30-18 at halftime on Thompson’s floater in the closing seconds of the half.
Thompson then kept the hot shooting going, hitting 4 of 5 shots to start the second half including a pair of 3-pointers. His second 3 gave WSU a 41-29 lead and came after Baynes tracked down a Rochestie miss and found Thompson open on the perimeter.
Montana State got back within 10 on Bobby Howard’s basket with 14:25 left, but the Cougars rolled off 15 of the next 20 points to push the lead to 58-38 on DeAngelo Casto’s thunderous two-handed dunk.
WSU shot a season high 58 percent.
The Cougars were completely taken apart by Gonzaga last Wednesday night, getting outscored 42-23 in the second half of a 74-52 loss to their Eastern Washington rivals. But with wins this season over Oregon State and Colorado, the Bobcats had the Cougars’ attention.
Howard, the Bobcats’ leading scorer at 14 points per game, struggled the most with WSU’s aggressive, swarming defense. Howard hit just 2 of 9 shots and finished with five points, the third time in the last four games Howard failed to score in double figures.
Picture of Klay Thompson: http://www.wsucougars.com/pics33/800/WO/WOYAKHBAVHMYSZH.20130514151948.jpeg
Washington State Prevails Over LSU in Overtime Thriller
December 22, 2009
Top of Form
State’s Marcus Capers pressures LSU’s Bo Spencer during the first half Tuesday night in Seattle.Bottom of Form Bo Spencer missed a contested 3-pointer over Marcus Capers in the closing seconds, and Washington State held on to defeat LSU 72-70 in overtime in the Cougar Hardwood Classic on Tuesday night in Seattle.
Klay Thompson hit two free throws with 47.8 seconds remaining in the extra period to give Washington State (10-2) a 72-68 edge.
Spencer drove the length of the court to pull the Tigers back within two points. Thompson was called for a charge with 8.2 seconds to play, giving LSU (8-3) one last chance.
Thompson scored 26 points to lead Washington State. Spencer paced LSU with 23, and Tasmin Mitchell added 18 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year.
Spencer drained a jumper from the left wing over Thompson to give LSU a 62-60 lead with 45 seconds remaining in regulation. A Thompson 3-point shot missed and was recovered by the Tigers’ Chris Bass, forcing the Cougars to foul with 16.9 seconds to go. Bass missed both free throws.
Washington State forced overtime when Reggie Moore went the length of the court before dropping a pass inside to DeAngelo Casto for a lay-in to tie it at 62-62 with seven seconds remaining.
Both head coaches, LSU’s Trent Johnson (a Seattle native) and Washington State’s Ken Bone, picked up technical fouls in the second half.
Klay Thompson drops 35 points in rout of Portland Pilots
November 23, 2010
SEATTLE (AP) – Klay Thompson scored Washington State’s first nine points and 18 of his 35 in the first half, and the Cougars nearly blew all of an early 20-point lead before pulling away from Portland 84-68 on Tuesday night.
Playing their annual game at Seattle’s KeyArena, the Cougars (3-0) jumped to a 24-4 lead, then had to fend off a furious rally from the Pilots in the second half. Portland cut the deficit in half before halftime and pulled within 57-56 with 11 minutes left before the Cougars put it out of reach.
Washington State scored 23 of the next 27 points to build its lead back to 80-60. Faisal Aden added 21 points for the Cougars.
Jared Stohl led Portland (4-2) with 21 points and Nemanja Mitrovic added 17 for the Pilots.
Thompson, the Cougars’ sharp-shooting guard and second-leading scorer, made his first four shots and six of his first seven. He made 13 of 16 shots overall, including a trio of 3-pointers as the Cougars made 11 of 21 from deep.
But it certainly didn’t go as easily as Washington State expected after bolting to an early 20-point lead.
Behind the shooting of Stohl and Mitrovic, the Pilots – whose only loss before Tuesday was to No. 8 Kentucky – trailed by 12 at halftime and quickly gave the Cougars a scare in the opening moments of the second half.
Following Thompson’s 3-pointer with 14:57 left, Washington State went scoreless for more than three minutes and the Pilots took advantage. Portland scored seven straight to get within 57-53, and after a timeout, Mitrovic’s 3-pointer got the Pilots within one.
That’s when the Cougars pulled away. Thompson scored on a jumper and freshman Patrick Simon hit one of his two 3-pointers to push the lead to six and begin a 22-4 run. Portland went more than 6½ minutes with just one field goal – a 3-pointer by Stohl.
Thompson and Aden were the only two Cougars to score in double figures, while guard Marcus Capers added nine points. The Cougars shot nearly 59 percent.
Aden, a transfer from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., has continued to fill in more than admirably while Cougars starting point guard Reggie Moore is out with a wrist injury. Aden made 8 of 15 shots and has scored 18 or more points in all three of Washington State’s games.
Stohl made 5 of 12 3-point attempts for the Pilots, who were playing their third game in five days. But the Cougars did a much better job in the second half on the Pilots’ shooting star, holding Stohl to just five points after the break. Portland followed up its loss to Kentucky with a victory the next night at Idaho.
Luke Sikma, the son of former Seattle SuperSonics center Jack Sikma, added 12 points and six rebounds.
Washington State cruises past Pepperdine. Remains unbeaten in Cougar Harwood Classic.
December 22, 2011
SEATTLE — Now Ken Bone can look ahead to the start of Pac-12 Conference play and all the areas he feels Washington State needs to improve before next Thursday night arrives.
Even on a six-game win streak, it’s a long list for the Cougars coach.
“How long do you have?” Bone said with a grin.
At least he was able to grin.
Faisal Aden scored 17 points off the bench and Washington State continued to recover from its early-season slump with a 67-56 win over Pepperdine on Thursday night.
DaVonte Lacy added 15 points for the Cougars (8-4), who have won six straight games — albeit not against the strongest competition — as they head into Pac-12 Conference play next Thursday against Oregon in Spokane, Wash.
And it is that pending game that concerns Bone.
The Cougars led by as many as 23 in the second half against Pepperdine, only to let up in the closing minutes and see the Waves get as close as nine in the final 30 seconds.
There wasn’t much of a threat that Pepperdine would rally all the way back, but it was not the complete finish that Bone wanted to see.
“That last six, eight minutes was disappointing,” Bone said. “I thought we got really content with the lead and we can’t do that in Pac-12 play.”
The start wasn’t exactly one the Cougars or Waves will want to remember. The teams combined to miss the first 11 shots of the game. It took more than 5 minutes before Aden’s 3-pointer finally got Washington State on the board. The Cougars’ leading scorer at 15.1 points per game popped for 13 of their 26 first-half points as the rest of Washington State’s scorers struggled to get going.
Aden got that help in the second half as the Cougars pulled away. Washington State scored the first six points of the second half, part of a 17-8 spurt that was capped by Aden’s steal and layup that gave the Cougars a 43-23 lead.
Washington State’s biggest lead came at 50-27 after a free throw from Brock Motum.
Aden said it’s continuing to be an adjustment playing off the bench. He missed three games due to a concussion and only made his return last Sunday against Western Oregon.
“I hope it doesn’t last long. At the end of the day basketball is just basketball and when I get out there I’m comfortable and know what to do — stay aggressive and don’t get down. Just because I’m on the bench not starting doesn’t mean I’m not one of the best players on the floor,” Aden said.
Pepperdine trimmed the Cougars’ lead to 12 with about 2 minutes remaining, but Lacy’s four straight points, including an aggressive baseline drive, put an end to any thoughts of a complete Waves comeback.
Corbin Moore led Pepperdine (6-5) with 14 points and scored in double figures for the fifth straight game. Pepperdine had won three of its last four, the only setback during that stretch a 73-70 loss to Cal State Northridge. The Waves earlier this season won at Arizona State, but on Thursday could not overcome a miserable 6 of 26 shooting performance in the first half. The 15 first-half points for Pepperdine wasn’t even a season-low; the Waves had just 11 in the first half in their loss to UCLA.
Taylor Darby added 13 and Joshua Lowery had 12 for Pepperdine, which begins West Coast Conference play next week with home games against San Francisco and Saint Mary’s.
While the game itself lacked many highlights, the announced crowd of 9,831 got a charge with the introduction of new football coach Mike Leach at halftime.
Emerging from a smoke-filled tunnel, Leach spoke briefly to the crowd and later to reporters. Leach said he has yet to hire a defensive coordinator but does have seven assistants hired who have been out recruiting.
“A whole bunch of players have opened their minds and listened to our message,” Leach said underneath the stands during halftime.
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Big second half run sparks Cougar win over Buffalo
December 21, 2012
PULLMAN — DaVonte Lacy scored 19 points, Brock Motum added 15 and Washington State used a big second half run to escape with a 65-54 victory over Buffalo on Friday night
Buffalo led 49-48 with 7:02 left before the Cougars used a 13-1 run to pull away. The Bulls went nearly six minutes without a field goal during Washington State’s run.
Lacy tied his career high with five 3-pointers for Washington State (8-4), which has won three straight and six of seven. Motum had eight of his 15 points in the second half for the Cougars and Dexter Kernich-Drew added 10.
“If I’m going my teammates find me and if I’m not they’ll find the person that’s hot,” said Lacy, who made four 3-pointers in the opening half.
Motum had two put-backs to ignite the run, including one after a missed free throw. Motum shot only 6 of 15 from the field and 1 of 4 on free throws. Motum had scored at least 23 points in each of the previous five games.
“He was one of the guys that was playing ugly but he was finding other ways to score and be productive,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said about Motum.
Kernich-Drew hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 56-50 with 4:53 remaining in the game.
“Dexter has not been making 3’s,” Bone said. “He had missed 10 in a row in the last three games, so it was important for us to work on him this last week to try to get him the confidence and freedom to shoot so it was like hope he makes it.”
Tony Watson scored 18 points to lead Buffalo (4-8), which had won two in a row, and Auraum Nuiriankh added 13.
The Bulls shot 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) from the field in the second half. They shot 14 of 25 (56 percent) in the first half to lead 37-35 at halftime.
“We got out of sync,” Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “That happens if you get some bunnies and you miss them. Shots aren’t going to get easier than that. A couple of them were four-point swings where we miss a layup and they come down and score.”
Buffalo, which missed 9 of 10 shots to start the second half, finally began to heat up a little bit as Auraum Nuiriankh hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 45-43 lead with 10:53 remaining.
Buffalo played without starting point guard Jarod Oldham, who injured his wrist at a Dec. 15 practice and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. He was averaging 10.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. Freshman Jarryn Skeete replaced Oldham.
“It’s hard,” Witherspoon said about missing Oldham. “This was the first game for the freshman point guard on the road. I thought he didn’t turn it over a lot but there was a lot of things coming at him in a quick way. We’ve just got to bring him along as fast as we can.”
Skeete had nine points, no assists and two turnovers.
Watson scored 11 to help give Buffalo a 37-35 halftime lead. He had three 3-pointers during a 25-12 run to finish the half after the Cougars led 23-12 with 11:36 remaining.
Lacy scored 14 to lead Washington State in the opening half. Motum had seven points in the first half on 3-for-9 shooting from the field.
Both teams were 7 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
This was the third game between the two schools but the first since 1950. The Cougars have won all three.