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WSU holds off Grambling State despite career night from Tiger guard, 83-65

Wire-to-wire win to get to 8-1!

NCAA Basketball: Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Mississippi State at Washington State Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars controlled the game the entire way against the Grambling State Tigers, cruising to a 83-65 victory.

After racing out to an 8-0 lead to open the game, WSU (8-1) never led by less than six the rest of the game. The Cougar offense pulled together to shoot 56.1% from the field and hit exactly half of their shots from beyond the arc. Four Cougs ended up with double-digit points. GSU (2-7) kept the game respectable thanks to a career night off the bench from their junior guard Kintavious Dozier.

WSU didn’t have much of a problem scoring early, inside or outside. Isaac Jones led the force inside with 12 first-half points, including a thundering dunk. Jaylen Wells came off the bench and led the three-point bombardment from outside, hitting four treys in the first half.

Trailing 15-1 early, Grambling State found their own bench sharpshooter in Dozier. Entering the game, Dozier was just 3 of 19 from beyond the arc in games against Division 1 opponents this season. In just the first half against WSU, he drilled 3 of 6 triples and racked up 18 points to keep the Tigers in the game.

Myles Rice filled the stat sheet in the first half. The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week had nearly as many steals as he did points in the first half, snatching six steals with seven points. Rice scored or assisted on all but one of his steals on the other end.

The stories that carried the first half didn’t alter much after the halftime break. Neither team got a real edge for a majority of the second half, trading buckets throughout the half as WSU couldn’t get a lead bigger than 19, while Grambling State couldn’t break within 13. Dozier continued to be a walking bucket, scoring another 16 in the second half, giving him a career high 34 points.

The Tigers tried to make things interesting with under six and a half minutes with a pair of free throws to pull within 11 to cap a 7-0 run, but the Cougs continued to keep the visitors at an arms length away, holding the double-digit lead strong for the remainder of the game.

Wells led the Cougs with 17 points, while Jones (16), Rice (14) and Rueben Chinyelu (14) also put up double-digit points.

WSU will head out to Phoenix, Arizona for their next game on Saturday, a neutral site game against the Santa Clara Broncos.