The Prairie View A&M Panthers pulled off the upset of the Washington State Cougars, 70-59.
WSU (1-2) looked flat from the jump. PVAMU (3-0) set the tone early, jumping out to an 18-point first half lead. Despite the Cougars having the height advantage, the Panthers were able to outrebound (33-30) and outscore the Cougars in the paint by 18. The Panthers also shot a scorching 56.7% from the field in the first half to help build an early lead they never surrendered.
Prior to the game, the Panthers were ranked 316th out of 363 teams on KenPom while WSU was ranked 69th. The Panthers were up to the challenge early, attacking the Cougars interior defense with the first eight points of the game coming inside the paint. When the Panthers weren’t attacking the Cougars inside, they were hitting just about everything from beyond the arc. The Panthers knocked down four of their first six three point attempts and finished the half hitting 50% of their shots from downtown and 14 of their first 20 shots of the game. Every time WSU tried to chip away into the early lead, the Panthers would answer right back. Before WSU could really land their first punch in the game, the Panthers had ballooned the lead up to 18 just 12 and a half minutes into the game. WSU’s offense looked bleak early and often. The Cougars shot just 31.8% from the field and three of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half as the Cougars entered the half in a daze, down 41-27.
Once again, every time the Cougars tried to rally and climb back into the game, the Panthers punched right back with a haymaker. WSU was able to slowly knock the game back to within 10, but the Panthers immediately put the Cougars right back down with a 10-0 run to double the lead up to 20 and up to a game-high 21. The Cougars never got any closer till it was far too late on a Kymany Houinsou layup with 18 seconds to go. Prairie View A&M tacked on one last layup on the final possession to seal the 11-point stunning upset.
“We knew it was going to be a really tough challenge, second night with a team that doesn’t get many opportunities like this and they knew they’d take advantage of this. They played really hard and really out competed us, I can’t put it any other way. Sometimes you tip your hat to them but, I thought we should have a little more fight in us. We got humbled tonight.” Kyle Smith said.
Will Douglas led all scorers with 26 points on 11-20 shooting from the field and pulled in a game-high seven rebounds. T.J. Bamba and Houinsou were the only Cougars to score double-digit points with 16 and 10 respectively.
While the season isn’t over by any means, for a team like WSU trying to make a tournament push, losses like these on the resume are really hard to climb back from. WSU will look to quickly put this one behind them and rebound against the team that burned them last year, the Eastern Washington Eagles, in Spokane next Tuesday.