The Washington State Cougars ended their three game losing streak with a 75-58 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils.
ASU (15-7, 6-5 in Pac-12) took advantage of a late WSU (10-13, 5-7) scoring drought to pull within five with just under seven minutes remaining. The Cougars however, didn’t flinch. WSU went on to outscore ASU 23-10 from that point and closed with a dagger 8-0 run to seal the season split with the Sun Devils. The loss not only snapped WSU’s three game losing streak, but extended ASU’s to four games.
After a sluggish first ten minutes, the Cougars let the flood gates from beyond the arc. Justin Powell knocked down back-to-back treys and then let Andrej Jakimovski get in on the fun with back-to-back three pointers of his own. Jakimovski passed the torch to Mouhamed Gueye for his own version of back-to-back buckets in the paint. The 19-4 WSU run was capped off by Jakimovski’s third triple in three minutes.
Andrej Jakimovski— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUCougarMBB) January 29, 2023
The junior has three bigs triples and extends the Cougs' lead t 14 points. Timeout ASU.
https://t.co/2gGcI8jWcC #GoCougs | #WAZZU pic.twitter.com/grcPAGg167
Gueye punctuated the first half with the Cougs eighth three of the night, taking the 12 point lead into the half.
The air conditioning in the halftime locker rooms must have been on as both teams looked ice cold to start the second half. Each time made just one field goal in the first five minutes of the second half. Jabe Mullins took the lid off the rim with a three pointer to end the field goal skid at the 14:57 mark. Kymany Houinsou attacked the basket on back-to-back buckets to push the lead back up to 13. While Houinsou was able to throw the ball through the rim on a dunk, he seemingly put the lid right back on the hoop in the process. Again the Cougars just couldn’t get the ball to fall through the net from the field, despite the great attempts at the rim and open looks from deep. The nearly six minute field goal drought allowed ASU to slowly chip into the 13-point Cougar lead. While Powell was able to end the field goal drought, the Sun Devils had chipped the lead down to just five shortly thereafter.
Needing an answer, Jakimovski delivered for his fourth trey of the night and two minutes later, Powell set his season high in points with his fifth downtown shot to push the lead up to 10. Powell didn’t just settle for a season high. With under three minutes to go, Powell fired off his sixth three pointer of the night to set a career high. After some key defensive stops, Jakimovski put home a layup and T.J. Bamba sealed the game with an and-one.
The Cougars will look to keep the momentum rolling into two big games down in Southern California next weekend, with the first leg being at the Southern California Trojans on Thursday.