The Washington State Cougars wrapped up the home portion of their non-conference schedule by cruising to an 89-73 win over the SIU Edwardsville Cougars on Wednesday night.
There might have been more players signing early with the football team than actual fans in the stands, but that didn’t deter the Pac-12 Cougs, who began the game as a 92 percent favorite to beat the lowly Ohio Valley Cougs and never dropped below 89 percent win probability.
That 89 percent mark came five minutes into the game, when WSU trailed 12-11. But over the next nine minutes, the Cougs outscored SIUE 27-9 to establish a 16-point lead. The lead would never dip below 10 the rest of the way, and reach as high as 21 points twice in the second half.
That’s not to say it was a flawless performance; the Cougs turned the ball over on 20 percent of their possessions and shot just 29 percent on their 24 three-point attempts. But it was largely mitigated by 33 free throw attempts, where they hit 85 percent, bringing their total scored from the line in the last two games to a remarkable 67 points.
Robert Franks and CJ Elleby each scored 18 points, with Franks also contributing 12 rebounds and five assists (although he also had six turnovers). Elleby grabbed eight rebounds and had three blocks. Ahmed Ali was the only other player to score in double figures with 12, and he also had five assists.
Senior sharpshooter Viont’e Daniels missed his second consecutive game with a concussion.
WSU now travels to Las Vegas to take on the tough San Diego Toreros, ranked No. 80 by kenpom.com, in the first game of a holiday tournament on Saturday.