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Cougs Keep Things Close in Salt Lake, Lose in Final Seconds

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Washington State put together a gutty performance on the road, but ultimately falls short

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

Commend Ernie Kent’s team for coming back with confidence after losing to this Utah team by 41 points at home last month. Even with Malachi Flynn sitting for a great deal of the first half due to foul trouble, the Cougs were a missed shot with thirteen seconds left in the game from sending this one into overtime. Utah ultimately prevailed on their home court by a score of 74-70. David Collette led the Runnin’ Utes with 22 points and 6 rebounds.

Washington State actually led for the majority of the 1st half, thanks to a quick start by Ike Iroegbu and Josh Hawkinson. The duo combined for 13 points in the first five minutes off a few Utah turnovers to jump out to a 19-9 lead.

But after that, it was all Utah and Collette. Collette’s 13 points in the first half ignited the Runnin’ Utes to a 25-4 run, including a five-minute scoring drought for the Cougs. Utah took the lead around the five-minute mark and left the first half with a 35-29 lead. Kyle Kuzma, Utah’s leading scorer, was held scoreless in the first half.

The Cougs just refused to go away, though. Due to hot shooting from Flynn and Charles Callison, WSU was able to take the lead in this game with 4 minutes remaining. Ultimately, there was too much Collette down low and WSU just didn’t have an answer for him, particularly after Connor Clifford fouled out at the 3-minute mark. The Cougs had a chance to tie on the last possession, but Flynn’s deep three ultimately fell short, and Utah walks out of the arena without a bad loss on their tournament resume.

Iroegbu led all WSU scorers in the losing effort, including four players in double figures. Hawkinson finished with 16 and 11, his billionth double-double of his career (estimated). The loss drops the Cougs to 11-13 overall and 4-8 in conference. Their Pac-12 loss drops them into a morass of eight-loss teams, moving from sole possession of 7th place to as low as 10th depending on how the weekend shakes out.

Washington State moves on to Boulder where they’ll play the Colorado Buffaloes Sunday night.