Well, it wasn’t pretty, offensively speaking, but the Washington State Cougars extended their perfect record through Christmas, taking down the Northwestern State Demons, 62-52, this afternoon. It is the first time WSU has started 8-0 since the 2007-08 season.
Efe Abogidi led the way again for the Cougs with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks, his third double-double of the season.
The first minute of the game saw a serious head-to-head collision between Noah Williams and Robert Chougkaz leading both players to their sidelines for most of the remainder of the game. A couple threes from Jairus Roberson and a layup from C.J. Jones gave the Demons an early 8-5 lead, which led Kyle Smith to call a very early timeout to reset strategies without their star Guard. After that timeout it was all Cougs, going on a 20-1 run over the next ten minutes. The Cougs went into halftime with an 11-point lead, with Myles Warren, forced into early action filling in for Williams, leading the team with eight points. Northwestern went into the locker room only getting 0.46 points per possession in the first twenty minutes.
Williams did try and give it a go after halftime but was largely ineffective and still looked pretty dazed from the head injury at the beginning of the game and didn’t see the floor again after a couple minutes. And like the start of the game, the Demons grew white hot, scoring eight points in the first two minutes, bringing them within five. The remainder of the game was an offensive slog for both teams. WSU was able to put together enough points via putbacks and free throws to keep NSU at bay until the final buzzer.
Despite Northwestern State playing their third game in three days and having one of the worst defenses in America, WSU only scored 0.86 points per possession, their lowest total since the Idaho game three weeks ago. The Cougs shot 3 for 23 from behind the three-point line and only made 23 of 35 free throws. Of the 18 made field goals by WSU today, only 6 of them were assisted. Isaac Bonton went 3-13 from the field and was second on the team in scoring with 13 points and 2 assists. Warren used his extended playing time to net 11 points.
WSU will get the next week off and prep for the Arizona schools coming into Pullman next week, starting with the Arizona State Sun Devils closing out 2020 in Pullman on December 31st. ASU is 4-3 and ranked 55th on Ken Pomeroy’s laptop, by far the toughest test for the Cougars this season so far.