Before the game ever started, it looked like it would be a pretty close one. Then, Washington rocketed out to a double-digit lead before the Cougars even managed to score once and it suddenly seemed that the Huskies would have no trouble scoring a victory in Pullman. Of course, it didn’t turn out that simple, and the Cougars took advantage of dozens of costly miscues on Washington’s part to fight back into it and force a close, nail-biting ending. With a handful of minutes left the Cougars even managed to take the lead, but Andrew Andrews nailed four out of four clutch free throws in the final minute to give the Huskies the ugly victory.
Washington shot 54% from the field compared to WSU’s 34% and the Huskies also won the battle of the boards 29-24, but the Cougars kept it close by turning over the ball a little less (12 compared to 15) and taking advantage of free throws, converting 16-21 attempts compared to 11-16 for the Huskies. It’s also worth noting that the officiating was terrible throughout the game, though a fair number of bad fouls were called on both sides.
Individually, Brock Motum started off slow but found his groove late to finish with 15 points while Mike Ladd actually outscored him with 16, though it was achieved via spotty 4-12 shooting. For Washington Wilcox had 18 while N’Diaye delivered a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards. Though his stats weren’t nearly as flashy, Desmond Simmons deserves recognition for his brilliant first-half defense on Motum and his hustle throughout. He plays with heart and he is the quintessential glue guy.
Overall, the win is positive, but mostly just proves that Washington State is also not a great basketball team either. Both teams have a long way to go, but there is no arguing against the fact that it is preferable to start the conference season off with a road win than to lose on your home court.