The Washington State Cougars were able to put a game away in the second half — finally — as they beat the Northern Colorado Bears, 82-56.
The Cougars (8-4, 1-1 in Pac-12) led by 21 points just a few minutes into the second half after a 6-0 spurt coming out of the locker room, but the Bears (6-7 overall, 2-0 in Big Sky) were able to close the gap to 10 after going on an 11-0 run.
Fans surely were reminded of double-digit collapses against Eastern Washington and New Mexico State. Here we go again?
But a career day from D.J. Rodman — who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds — helped separate the Cougs in the final 16 minutes of the game as they outscored the Bears, 33-17, to win going away.
Tyrell Roberts was back in action for the Cougs after being inactive on Wednesday due to flu-like symptoms. Noah Williams also returned to the starting five alongside Michael Flowers, T.J. Bamba, Mohammed Gueye and Dishon Jackson.
It was a slow start for WSU, who wouldn’t take their first lead of the game until Rodman hit his first three just under six minutes into the game to take an 8-6 lead. The Bears would keep the game within single-digits for a majority of the first half, but the Cougars would pull away late in the half with a 14-6 run in the closing 4:30 to take a 41-26 lead into the locker room.
But then it looked like WSU was once again going to have to watch a large lead begin to slip away in the second half. Flowers and Rodman put those worries to rest, going on a 13-0 run from the duo alone. Rodman hit three 3-pointers in this six minute stretch, part of his best game as a Coug. He set career highs in points, rebounds, and 3-pointers made (6). It was Rodman’s first career double-double.
The Cougs would go on cruise control for the final 10 minutes of the game with Abogidi scoring 10 of his 12 points in this span to help snap the Cougars’ two game losing streak.
It wasn’t just Rodman shooting the three ball better. The Cougars shot 36.4% from distance as a team, their highest since the Weber State game. Flowers and Andre Jakimovski added 16 points each and Abogidi added 12 points to the Cougars 53 bench points. Nearly 65% of the Cougars points came from the bench.
The Cougars will get one more game before Christmas on Wednesday against the Boise State Broncos in Spokane.