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WSU comes back to beat Seattle U, 75-59

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After another slow start, the Cougs wake up in time to shoot their way past the Redhawks.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars overcame their second consecutive slow start to begin the season, turning around a 10-point deficit early in the second half to defeat the Seattle Redhawks, 75-59.

The Cougs were led by 26 from Carter Skaggs, a junior college transfer who came in with a reputation as a shooter. That was on full display on Wednesday, as he buried 7-of-8 shots from behind the arc. He also had seven rebounds and a pair of assists.

Unsurprisingly, it was Skaggs who got the Cougs back in the game. The Redhawks stretched their five point halftime lead to 10 within the first minute of the second half, but WSU went on a 22-6 run to take a six-point lead at 48-42. Skaggs scored 14 of those points, hitting four threes.

Morgan Means hit back-to-back threes to tie it, but from there, WSU went on a 27-8 run that was capped by a Skaggs four-point play — a completely fitting end to his bananas night.

Three Observations

  1. I might have vastly undersold Viont’e Daniels. So far, Daniels looks to me like the most improved player on the team. In the season preview, I said Daniels looked like he could turn into a “3 and D” guy, and it’s starting to look like he could be pretty darned good in that role. It’s not just that he’s experienced good results so far — he’s 6 of 11 from 3 so far — it’s that he looks like he’s put in some real work on his jumper to add consistency. Additionally, he brings a ton of energy on defense, going full throttle on every possession. Everyone should look like they care that much about every possession.
  2. Maybe Skaggs can shoot a little! I thought it was super weird when Ernie Kent gave Skaggs a scholarship right before the school year; it didn’t appear he was a player who was in any kind of demand. And while I still question whether he’s athletic enough to make more than spot appearances this year once the competition level inevitably comes up — he had a hard time getting loose tonight once Seattle started paying attention to him — he’s got a nose for the ball and has an excellent understanding of the floor. Maybe he can come off the bench to knock down a couple of shots in Pac-12 play.
  3. Robert Franks needs to hunt his shot a little harder. Coming off a game in which he scored 25, Franks could muster only five points on seven shots. He looked pretty passive within the offense, and I’m confident WSU is going to need him to be better than he was tonight.