Washington State (4-4) traveled across the stateline border to Idaho (4-5) renewing one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball. There’s plenty of competitive enmity between the two schools located just 8-miles from one another. And once again this game came down to the final possession to determine who would earn a victory and bragging rites.
FINAL: WSU 67 – IDAHO 66
Over the course of the game, Idaho put together several nice runs to keep their fans in the game and force the Cougs to battle back time and again.
The Vandals played well in the first half, taking a 36-33 lead into the locker room. Making a few adjustments, Idaho came out aggressive to begin the second half of play and pulled out to a 48-38 lead after about five minutes.
Jordan Railey began the struggle to scramble back into this ballgame by knocking down back-to-back hooks from close range. When he’s on the court, Railey not only has a lot of confidence in the paint, the guy excellent touch for a big man.
Sensing a weakness in the paint, Royce Woolridge contributed 4-points on the next couple of possessions by driving to the hoop and closing the score to 50-47 in favor of the Vandals.
Over the final 7-minutes, neither ball club would take the lead by more than 3-points.
Credit must be given to the Idaho fans who not only braved sub-zero weather, they applied a deluge of decibels on the Cougs making plenty of noise and creating a crazy atmosphere. Yes, the Cowan Spectrum was rockin’ Saturday night.
Based on the first 8-games of this season, when it comes to WSU offense, DaVonté Lacy has stepped up to fill the void created by the graduation of two-time Pac-12 leading scorer Brock Motum.
Lacy was efficient and effective in the second half finishing the game with 23-points to lead all scorers.
Looking down the road for the balance of this season, a come-from-behind win on the road like this one should buoy the confidence of the Cougs.
“We are proud of what they did,” praised Coach Ken Bone during his post game interviews. “It was a tough environment. Idaho had a great crowd (that was) very into the game. It was nice to see us persevere through some things and deal with the adversity.”
Bone went on to comment on the play of Lacy saying, “He’s become a really good scorer. I love the way he’s playing with confidence. I also like the fact I think guys on the team cherish the fact that he’s as good as he is. They set good screens for him. They know where he’s at. They share the ball to get it to him. They know what he’s capable of doing.”
There was a massive discrepancy in free throw attempts between the two teams. Idaho players went to the charity stripe 31 times, converting 25 free throws. WSU was awarded just 12 free thows, of which they made 8.
Home court does have it’s advantages. Especially when the arena is packed with enthusiastic fans.
Defeating Idaho for the 11th consecutive time is a nice way for the Cougs to head into finals week.
WSU won’t play again until a week from Sunday when they host the Pepperdine Waves from the WAC at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
- The win over Idaho marks the second time this season the Cougs have trailed at halftime then turn things around to complete a comeback victory.
- Scoring 10-points, D.J. Shelton collected his first double-double of the year and the second in his collegiate career. His 14-rebounds was a personal best as well. And it was a pair of Shelton free throws with 7.8-seconds left in the game that proved to be the difference.
- WSU shot 30% from behind the arc going 9 for 30 from 3-point range. Lacy led the way knocking down 5 of 10 3-point shots.
- The Cougs won the battle of the boards grabbing 35-rebounds to just 31 for Idaho.