The Washington State Cougars soundly defeated the Colorado Buffaloes on Sunday night, 70-43 in a game that wasn’t even really as close as the final score.
It was all WSU (12-7, 5-3 in Pac-12) in this one. The Cougars controlled the game from the go, scoring early and often, and locking down Colorado (13-8, 5-6) on the defensive end.
Both teams had late scratches as the Cougars were without T.J. Bamba and the Buffaloes didn’t have guard Elijah Parquet. Both participated in pregame warmups.
The Cougars, now winners of three in a row, got the offense going early with an onslaught of threes. Michael Flowers delivered a trio of them in the first nine minutes, and big men Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye also each hit one from beyond the arc in the first 10 minutes as 15 of the Cougars’ first 22 points came from deep.
As the barrage of threes kept falling on the west side of the court, the Cougar defense locked down the Buffaloes on the other end, holding the Buffs scoreless for 5:15 in a 12-0 Cougar run to push the early lead to 17. After the 16:24 mark, the Buffaloes never got any run going in the first half.
WSU put the exclamation point on the half when Andrej Jakimovski hit a three after the Cougars grabbed their third offensive rebound of the possession. The Cougars took a 21-point lead into the halftime break, their largest of the season.
Kyle Smith’s crew kept their foot on the gas in the second half, never letting the lead get under 20. The lead grew up to 35, the largest of the game, on a Tyrell Roberts layup with 7:07 to go. WSU went on cruise control from there and closed the game with a 27-point conference win.
The offense played fantastic but the defense arguably played even better. They held Colorado to a season-low in field goal percentage and points scored, hitting that coveted under-49 points allowed goal Smith sets. The Buffs’ 0.70 points per possession was also their lowest of the season.
Flowers was the leading scorer with 16, scoring nine in the first half. Jakimovski grabbed his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Abogidi was outstanding on the glass, hauling in 11 rebounds, a career-high seven of them on the offensive end.
A trip down to California awaits the Cougars next week with the Cougs traveling to Stanford on Thursday and then to Berkeley to play the California Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon.