In a contest that wasn't competitive from even the opening tip, Washington State found itself on the business end of a whipping by Utah as the Runnin' Utes blew the doors off the Cougars, 92-71.
The Cougs dropped to 1-5 in the Pac-12 after their fourth consecutive loss, and 9-9 overall.
Heading into the game, it was reasonable to expect that WSU might be able to make a game out of it; Utah featured the worst offense in the conference through five league games, scoring just 0.93 points per possession while averaging 60 points.
Tonight, Utah scored 1.36 points per possession as WSU was utterly helpless to do anything to slow down the Runnin' Utes. There truly aren't words to describe how poor of a defensive performance this was.
As expected, Jakob Poeltl was a complete mismatch for WSU. Ernie Kent started with Conor Clifford on him, but when Poeltl blew by him for a dunk on Utah's first possession, it was clear that wasn't going to work. From there, Josh Hawkinson and Junior Longrus mostly took turns, and neither was effective, either -- Poeltl finished with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
The attention paid to Utah's best player opened up the floor for others. Early on, it was Jordan Loveridge, who led the Runnin' Utes with 11 points in the first half after hitting a couple of 3s. Later, it was Brandon Taylor, who scored 14 points in the second half while hitting 4-of-5 3s in the frame.
They would finish with 22 and 21 points, respectively. And Utah, which had shot just 27 percent on 3s through its first five Pac-12 games, shot 11-of-22 from beyond the arc tonight. And lest you think it was just a shooting display, Utah was also 24-of-41 on 2s ... and most of those were layups -- 40(!!!) points in the paint.
Meanwhile, the Cougars struggled to create much of anything against Utah's stingy defense, often looking stagnant. The only thing that kept the score from appearing worse was WSU's 6-of-9 performance from 3 in the second half; the Cougs actually ended up shooting better from 3 (52.9 percent) than they did from 2 (45.9 percent).
If there was a silver lining, it probably was the nice shooting performance of Que Johnson, who finished with 16 points on 10 jump shots. Hawkinson also finished with 16, while Charles Callison chipped in 12. Ike Iroegbu had maybe his worst game of the year, scoring just 7 points while turning the ball over 4 times.
The turnovers were again a problem, as the Cougs gave the ball away on one-in-five possessions.
Up next for WSU: Colorado, which comes to Beasley Coliseum on Saturday at 6 p.m.