The Washington State Cougars climbed on the back of point guard Malachi Flynn and rode his career-high 30 points to their first victory in eight games, a 73-69 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes.
The Cougs are now 10-15 overall and 2-11 in the Pac-12. Colorado dropped to 15-11 and 7-7.
The game was certainly not a work of art overall, as the two teams combined to shoot just 10-of-47 from three-point range. Additionally, the teams combined for 58 free throws — including a ridiculous 35 for Colorado — thanks to an unusually tight game from the referees.
But style points don’t even remotely matter to a WSU squad that hadn’t tasted victory since January 13.
The game was close throughout, although Colorado spent much of the night in the lead. It looked like the Cougs might be heading for yet another loss as they trailed by four after George King hit a pair of free throws for the Buffaloes with 4:25 left to play.
However, Viont’e Daniels — who had a rough night defensively — hit a three-pointer with 3:38 left drew the Cougs to within one. Then, Robert Franks — who struggled all night coming off a knee injury — hit a jumper to put the Cougs up one.
Colorado wouldn’t go quietly, though, repeatedly getting to the free throw line to make up for their other deficiencies (they shot just 39 percent from the floor) — they tied the game twice and even took the lead once in the final few minutes.
But Flynn, who had spent so much of the night keeping WSU within striking distance, made all the plays down the stretch, answering the Buffs each time: He hit a jumper at 1:47 to put WSU up by two, then hit another jumper to put WSU up by two again with 1:10, then hit a pair of free throws with under a minute to go to put the Cougs back up by one.
He also hit a free throw with five seconds to go to ice the game.
Overall, Flynn shot an incredibly efficient 11-of-19 to score those 30 points, adding five rebounds and three steals. Franks chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, while Daniels hit for 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Key stat? WSU turned it over just seven times, a big reason why they were able to survive such a poor shooting night.