With Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in attendance to celebrate Thompson’s jersey retirement, Isaac Bonton scored a career-high 34 points to power Washington State to a 89-76 win over the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday afternoon in Pullman. Bonton also added eight assists and eight rebounds in front of 10,380 fans.
Just as they did on Thursday in defeating Oregon, the Cougs used a late surge to bury their opponent. After a quick 7-0 Oregon State run cut WSU’s once 13-point lead down to just six with 5:52 to play, Wazzu embarked on its own 10-1 run to push the lead to game-high 15 and remove any doubt of the outcome.
A Bonton behind the back pass to CJ Elleby with just over four minutes to play pushed the crowd into delirium. Freshman Noah Williams then fouled out Oregon State’s Zach Reichle on the next WSU possession with a drive and score. Another Williams bucket would push WSU to its biggest lead of 15.
Elleby was one rebound shy of back-to-back double-doubles, chipping in 22 points. Williams notched a career-high 17 points on 6-8 shooting. Tres Tinkle led the Beavers with 22 points.
Wazzu outpaced its typical shooting percentages, hitting 28-55 from the floor, 8-20 from 3, and 25-27 from the free throw line. Bonton went 14-14 from the line himself, drawing fouls consistently with penetrating drives. WSU’s players cited the Splash Brothers in attendance for the shooting outburst.
“Let’s give that credit to Klay and Steph,” laughed Bonton after the game.
“They came into the gym and made the gym hot,” added Williams.
The 89 points is a season-high for WSU, as was the 1.27 points per possession. The gym was hot, indeed.
To complement the shooting, WSU once again ramped up its defense in the second half to secure a win. Oregon State dominated on the inside in the first half, scoring 34 of its first 40 points in the paint. In final 20 minutes, the Beavers found it much tougher to get points inside.
WSU went zone to start the second half to limited success, but it was ultimately the man defense that limited Oregon State. WSU head coach Kyle Smith highlighted DJ Rodman effort guarding OSU’s star Tinkle in particular.
“You gotta make it hard, make that guy work, make it hard for him to catch,” said Smith. “For a freshman that hadn’t played a lot to be able to come in and do a good job on (Tinkle) that was helpful for us.”
WSU’s hot shooting from outside and perfect shooting from the free throw line allowed it to best the Beavers in the first 20 minutes while that interior defense struggled. Bonton’s midcourt heave put the Cougs up 46-40, capping a 9-0 and ignited the crowd for the halftime festivities.
With the weekend sweep, WSU moves to 12-7 on the season and 3-3 in conference. Oregon State drops to 12-6 (2-4). The Cougs hit the road to take on Colorado and Utah next weekend.