WSU (16-15, 11-9 in Pac-12) jumped out to a quick 19-3 run and never looked back. Every time UW (16-15, 8-12) tried to recapture momentum, the Cougars quickly silenced it and the Seattle crowd. The win puts WSU over .500 on the season and postseason eligible. It also keeps hopes alive for a possible five seed in the Pac-12 tournament.
With emotions high in Seattle for the Huskies senior night, Justin Powell and company silenced the Hec-Ed with a flurry of points to open the game. Andrej Jakimovski opened the game with a trey and after each team traded a pair of buckets, Powell knocked down a three to give the Cougars a 10-3 lead. The Powell three lit the fuse on a massive 14-0 run, anchored by a trio of triples from Powell. Washington wouldn’t go away so easily. UW retaliated with a 7-0 run to pull back within single digits. While a Mullins three would snap the Huskies run, UW began to score two buckets for every one WSU scored to pull back within four.
As the Huskies inched closer, T.J. Bamba helped separate the Cougs as the first half winded down. The Bronx native closed the first half with eight straight points, breaking up every UW attempt at a run. While the teams stopped for halftime, Bamba didn’t. The junior continued to rip the hearts out of the Huskies with another seven straight points to start the second half, pushing the lead back up to 12.
While the Huskies tried to retake momentum and get the crowd back into it, Bamba was having none of it. A six point Huskies run was ended with a Bamba bucket inside and after a Braxton Meah dunk, D.J. Rodman answered with a lay-up and Bamba added on with an and-one. Bamba dominated the Huskies all night. From three, attacking the bucket, from the stripe, he couldn’t be stopped, setting a career high in points with 36.
For the rest of the game every UW bucket was immediately answered by a WSU bucket of their own. As the crowd to fall more and more silent, Mouhamed Gueye delivered the death blow with a dunk of the year candidate.
Mouhamed Gueye skies up to the Space Needle and brings it down! The Cougs in the crowd erupt and bring #WAZZU energy to the building.— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUCougarMBB) March 3, 2023
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https://t.co/adp84MVTro #GoCougs #WAZZU pic.twitter.com/Lxg0lSPjs1
This is Cougars’ sixth victory over the Huskies in their last eight meetings and their sixth straight victory overall on the season and in prime position to finish as a top seed in the Pac-12. With a Colorado victory over Utah and a USC win over Arizona State, the Cougars will jump into the five seed for the Pac-12 Tournament.
For how this season started and all the injuries WSU has had to endure throughout the season, it is truly remarkable where they stand as the regular season draws to a close. Hats off to this entire team for fighting through all the adversity they have had to endure this season. Now, they are peaking at the right time. And they look very scary for any team that may have to run into them in Las Vegas.
WSU will now wait to see who they will draw in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament next weekend.