The Washington State Cougars took care of the University of California Bears at home yesterday, winning by a score of 66-51. It was much more lopsided than that score belies though, as WSU was up by 21 prior to putting in walk-ons Jack Wilson and Ben Oleson.
WSU had another efficient night from three as they hit 9-21 shots from deep. Five different Cougs hit a shot from three and the majority of WSU’s looks were open.
Cal, in general, had a limp second half and WSU exploited that to jump their lead up 12 with over 16 minutes to go. The game never got close after that, and WSU was able to let their stars take it a little easy. This game was exactly the easy win that the Cougs wanted and expected against a bad team.
1. The Rhythm is There
Wazzu had some low moments this season, and there was a small worry that Saturday’s huge win against Arizona might be a fluke. This game was a nice statement win that this team is good enough to take care of business.
The Cougs were without starter TJ Bamba, but they still managed to handle Cal with little issue at all. Kymany Houinsou stepped into the starting lineup and contributed 9 points, 2 assists, and a block. The offense had a nice flow, the defense was where it needed to be, and the Cougs had the momentum they needed.
2. DJ Rodman is Legit
Rodman has always had some hot games, but the stretch he’s on now is completely different. It feels like there has been this expectation for him to slow down and have a cold game, but it has not happened yet. Against Cal, Rodman put up 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 assists on 50% shooting- 80% from deep.
Rodman’s improvement is remarkable and sustainable. His shooting feels real, with every open shot he takes feeling like an automatic bucket. He has improved his rhythm and confidence while maintaining his hustle-based playstyle.
3. Defensive Intensity
WSU completely stumped Cal’s offense for long-stretches last night. The Cougs’ zone was uncrackable aside from a random bank three or a post-up here and there, and they did well to guard the pick-and-roll. Only one Cal player scored in double digits, and the Bears shot only 35.8% from the field for the game. The defense felt amazing, and with the offensive improvements, they could be a top 5 team in the Pac-12.
The Cougs take on Stanford at home on Saturday. Hopefully Beasley is packed to see a hot WSU team that is still in the push for post-season play.