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Recap: WSU picks up first Pac-12 win, whipping Cal 82-59

Robert Franks leads the team in scoring and rebounding in his return from a hip injury.

William Mancebo/Getty Images

The Washington State Cougars got a lift from two “returns” on Thursday night, as they walloped the hapless California Golden Bears, 82-59, to break a six-game skid and pick up their first Pac-12 win.

WSU (8-9 overall, 1-3 Pac-12) played at Beasley Coliseum for the first time in nearly a month, but probably more importantly, Robert Franks hit the floor for the first time in four games. The Cougs’ best player didn’t disappoint: He scored 24 points on 18 shots and also grabbed 8 rebounds, showing practically no effects of the hip contusion that kept him out for weeks and ensuring that WSU won’t go winless in the Pac-12.

Cal (5-12, 0-5) provided some resistance for most of the first half; the Cougs built a 10-point lead just eight minutes into the game, but the Golden Bears fought back to eventually take a three-point lead with five minutes to go in the first half.

It was all WSU from there, though: Ahmed Ali erased the margin with a three-pointer and the Cougs went on a 16-4 run to close out the half before outscoring the Bears 18-7 over the first nine-minutes of the second half to take a 20-point lead that effectively put away the game.

So much focus is on Franks’ offense, but it should be noted that the Cougs put up their second-best defensive performance of the season, stat-wise, allowing a paltry 0.85 points per possession. When the opponent is taken into account — as bad as the Bears are, they came into the game with a top-100 offense in adjusted efficiency — it was easily their top effort on the defensive end.

Franks, who wound up playing 31 minutes after not starting, certainly had something to do with that. The Bears aren’t a particularly tall team outside of one extremely skinny 7-footer, but their offense goes through the frontcourt, and Franks’ length altered a number of shots. Beyond that, the presence of such a gifted player seemed to revitalize a team that had to grind hard without him; the best example might be the domination of the defensive glass, where WSU had seven players with three or more rebounds.

Four other players scored in double figures for the Cougars: Viont’e Daniels, Marvin Cannon and CJ Elleby each scored 11, while Jeff Pollard chipped in 10.

The win moved WSU up to 11th place in the Pac-12, while Cal remains firmly in the basement.

The Cougs are in action next on Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal, who lost by 16 to the Washington Huskies last night. The game tips off at noon from Pullman.

Hoops Links

CAL 59, WSU 82 - FINAL

Robert Franks fuels Washington State with 24 points in dominant 82-59 win over Cal | The Spokesman-Review
Fully healed from the hip injury that kept him off the court for almost a month, Robert Franks helped Washington State repair many of its own wounds Thursday night at Beasley Coliseum – most of them on the offense end – and guided the Cougars to a dominant 82-59 win over the Golden Bears in a matchup of the only two teams without a Pac-12 win.

Franks sparks Cougar victory | Sports |
With Franks back and looking healthy on the surface, the Cougs turned what felt like an unending tide — they erupted offensively, were more than competent defensively, and logged an 82-59 thrashing of the lowly California Golden Bears on Thursday night to attain conference win No. 1 and remain unbeaten (8-0) at Beasley Coliseum

Ernie Kent was right: WSU clobbers Cal – Cougar Sports Network
PULLMAN – If the past three weeks of Washington State basketball was a movie, Head Coach Ernie Kent knew how it ended it from the beginning. The Cougars lost Robert Franks to a reported hip contusion Dec. 23 and haven’t been the same since, but the senior's glorious Beasley Coliseum return played out just as the head man suggested.

Cougs thrash Cal behind a healthy Franks to snap six-game skid -
Robert Franks pours in 24 points and 8 rebounds in his first game since Dec. 23 to give WSU its first conference win.

Franks scores 24, leading a WSU rout of California 82-59 - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars improved to 8-0 at Beasley Coliseum this season.

Recap: Franks, Cougars blow out the Bears - California Golden Blogs
In a bottom-of-the-conference battle, the Bears fall 82-59.

Everything Else

Cougars always call Pullman home | WSU Insider | Washington State University

Buzz from Washington State's big football season continues as AD visits Yakima | Washington State University Sports |
YAKIMA, Wash. -- The good vibes from the Washington State football team’s school-record 11 wins and first top-10 ranking in 15 years continued Thursday afternoon at the Downtown Yakima Rotary

Tennis competes in three dual matches – The Daily Evergreen
After sweeping a pair of teams at home this past weekend, WSU tennis will hit the road for over a month.

Cougar Tennis Travels to Missoula for Montana, Michigan State - Washington State University Athletics
This weekend marks the first road match for the Cougars in 2019.

Soccer to Host its Annual Winter Soccer Academy - Washington State University Athletics
The academy begins Feb. 11 and runs through March.

WSU Rowing Encourages Students to Join the Team - Washington State University Athletics
WSU Rowing is searching for driven young women to continue their athletic career by joining the team.

WSU Spirit Squads Head to Nationals for Sixth-Straight Year - Washington State University Athletics
WSU Cheer and Crimson Girls will hold a national showcase performance, Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at Bohler Gym. Admission is free to come preview the national routines.

Back on the Road, WSU Women’s Basketball Heads to Cal - Washington State University Athletics
WSU takes on Cal Friday in Berkeley.

Soccer's Coach Harvey Named Recruiting Coordinator - Washington State University Athletics
The long time coach officially added recruiting coordinator to his title in 2019.

Cougars Prepped to Host WSU Indoor This Weekend - Washington State University Athletics
T&F looks to continue the success of the previous week at home.

Summer Camp Registration Open for Soccer - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars host a trio of camps during the 2019 summer.