The famous philosophical question goes, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
How about this one: If the Cougars lose a basketball game and no one is around to see it, did it really happen?"
The San Jose State Spartans (2-3) came into Pullman this afternoon and defeated Washington State (3-3) 88-76 in front of well...nobody?
From friend of the blog and Spokesman-Review reporter Jacob Thorpe:
To answer a text I just got, yes, this is without questions the lowest attendance i've ever seen. Can't be 50 fans here.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) November 27, 2016
If you watched the game on TV, analyst Dan Dickau kept saying how the Cougars didn’t have their legs under them after a 3,000 mile journey to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam tournament last week. While that may be partially true, Washington State’s non-conference schedule is filled with cupcake games like San Jose State, Utah Valley, and New Orleans.
The first half was a tightly contested between both teams; Washington State’s largest lead was three points and both teams exchanged leads six times, yet San Jose State went into halftime with a 44-38 lead.
San Jose State added four quick points to start the second half prompting Ernie Kent to call timeout. The Cougars responded nicely starting a 7-0 run that put the game at 48-45. However, Washington State couldn’t add anymore to its scoring run, missing three consecutive lay-ins which put San Jose State on its own 6-0 run, making it 54-45 Spartans at the first media timeout of the half.
It only got worse for the Cougars as the Spartans extended their lead to 13 points on a Ryan Welage three-pointer at 64-51 with 8:30 left to play in the game, the Spartan’s largest lead of the game at the time.
There really isn’t much to be said about the Cougars performance today. It was basically the same Ernie Kent coached WSU team we’ve seen for the last two years: lots of sloppy basketball.
One brief glimmer of hope for the future of Cougar basketball is freshman guard Malachi Flynn. Flynn scored 18 points and went 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Josh Hawkinson recorded his 45th career double-double, scoring 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ike Iroegbu and Charles Callison also recorded double digits in scoring with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Welage led all scorers with 19 points while Jaycee Hillsman put up 14. Brandon Clarke, Gary Williams, Jr., and Isaac Thornton each added 12 points for the Spartans.
San Jose State dominated Washington State on the glass, out-rebounding the Cougars 50-39 and scored 16 second-chance points. The Cougars shot 37% from the floor which isn’t a recipe for success, even if you’re playing a bad Mountain West team.
Up next for the Washington State Cougars, the mighty Wolverines of Utah Valley visit Beasley Coliseum on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the Spartans will remain on the Palouse as they make the eight mile trek to Moscow to face the Idaho Vandals on Tuesday.