Good evening, Coug fans!
Tonight, your very own Washington State Cougars took down the Stanford Cardinal in the Bay, maintained the lead, and closed out with a strong final score of 89 to 75.
We’ll get into game specifics in a moment, but the best way to open this recap is to just go ahead and mention the casual 35 points Myles Rice dropped. The win tonight brought the Cougs up 13-5 on the season, 4-3 in conference, and showcased some great moments for our starters.
Let’s get into the details!
As mentioned, Rice had a cool 35 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals.
Isaac Jones also had himself a game, with 24 points and 5 rebounds.
WSU kicked things off strong, as Jaylen Wells was the first to get on the board. While the Cougar defense would struggle in the final few minutes of the game, they held strong in the first half - a direct contrast to Stanford, who couldn’t seem to stop any of the Cougar Bigs. During (I believe) the first four minutes of the game, Stanford had already turned the ball over three times.
We love to see it.
The Stanford defense struggled particularly hard against Jones, who made his first layup within two minutes.
From there, the ball moved pretty steadily between WSU and Stanford, trading off between Rice layups or Stanford foul shots (there was a lack of fouls called on Stanford, as they had only three in the first half- knock me over with a feather). Unfortunately for the Cardinal, it seemed one of their only players who deigned to show up for the game, Kanaan Carlyle, carried the majority of the points that occurred not on the free throw line.
Halfway through the first half, WSU was going 0% from 3, unlike Stanford, who was hitting 67%. However! What the Cougs lacked in their outside the paint numbers, they made up for closer to the bucket.
Both teams were moving the ball quite well as the first half neared its end, and then the Cougs went on a 10 point streak with four minutes left to play! They wound up heading into halftime at 42-29.
It is as this point that fan favorite, epic big fella, Australian machine Oscar Cluff opened the second half with a beautiful dunk.
Perhaps it wasn’t a traditional dunk in a sense that the basketball truthers would describe, but it gave me joy, so that’s what we’re going with. Feel free to disagree!
Jones, Cluff, Rice, and Wells all took turns throughout the second half taking Stanfords lunch money, with a layup by Wells, a real dunk by Jones (assisted by Rice), and a Rice jumper! Plus, somewhere in that mix (13:14 left in the second half) Isaiah Watts dropped a 3! At that point, 40 of WSUs 59 points had been inside the paint. So, the three was exciting!! Anything Watts does is exciting, hashtag supportive fan.
As the game rounded to a close, both teams seemed to abandon whatever concept of defense had been drilled previously, and each suddenly became intently focused on just scoring points. With 4 minutes and some change left to play, it was a series of scoring- a Cluff dunk, a Stanford basket, a Wells layup, another Stanford three, but then Rice hit a three to return, followed right away by ANOTHER Stanford three! I wasn’t playing and I was out of breath.
At this point, everyone began to get a little foul happy, which was responsible for three of Stanfords final points, and four of WSUs. Unfortunately, Andrej Jakimovski missed a couple foul shots that would have been fun to have on the board (along with some other notable shots missed, but we won’t dwell too much on the negatives), but at the end of the day, those didn’t hold Washington State back from ending in victory!
Up next, WSU heads to Cal on Saturday January 20th at 2pm Pacific Time! Then, they’ll host the mountain schools to round off January (Utah on Wednesday 1/24 and Colorado on Saturday 1/27), and kick off February with a game across the state at the Schmooniversity of Schomoshington. I have tricked my father into driving up I5 and attending that game with me, but really I am just hoping he buys me some groceries!
And don’t worry, our trusty recap friend Nate will likely be back soon, and the wrap-up will be far less quippy! Well, maybe not by a large margin...
What a great game, Go Cougs!