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Paradise Jam: WSU beats up Montana, 87-63

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Josh Hawkinson scores 29 as the Cougs ride hot shooting to their most impressive win of the young season.

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The WSU basketball team rebounded strong from its worst performance of the young season to post its best one, beating up Montana, 87-63, in the consolation round of the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

WSU now faces Loyola of Chicago on Monday for either fourth or sixth place in the tournament.

The Cougars rode a hot shooting performance that very likely will turn out to be its best of the season: 70 percent on 2s (19-of-27), 43 percent on 3s (9-of-21) and 88 percent on free throws (22-of-25).

It added up to an effective field goal percentage (what’s that?) of 68; for context, the Cougs’ season high last season was 64.

Josh Hawkinson was the main fuel behind the scoring outburst, which paced the Cougs to an efficiency of 1.24 points per possession (another mark that exceeds anything they posted last year). Hawkinson scored 29 points on 9-of-10 2-pointers and 8-of-9 free throws. Oh, and he collected another 14 rebounds, all of them defensive. He also had 3 assists and 2 blocks.

The only downside? Nobody got to see the best performance of his career. Thanks a lot, Paradise Jam!

Conor Clifford added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks ... and 5 turnovers, all in 26 minutes. Malachi Flynn had a nice game with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 turnovers, while Charles Callison also scored in double figures with 10.

WSU-Loyola tips off at noon PT on Monday. Again, you can watch it if you want to spend $20 on the Flohoops streaming service.