Basketball gets set for second leg of Apple Cup

Cougars beat Huskies 77-62 on January 31



Junior guard Myles Warren shoots the ball during the game against Utah on Jan. 21 at Beasley Coliseum.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

Following a tough loss at home, the Cougars have a quick turnaround as they host the Washington Huskies for the second leg of the 2021 Apple Cup series at 5 p.m. on Monday at Beasley Coliseum.

WSU’s (12-9, 5-9) recent loss to No. 20 USC at home can be summed up with the efforts from USC’s Tahj Eaddy and Evan Mobley, who combined for 49 points in the 76-65 victory.

Freshman center Dishon Jackson, who put up a career-high 18 points against Mobley down low, said the Cougars need to treat every game the same, no matter the result, and get back on the right track on Monday.

“I think it’s just about keeping a steady head and a steady mind, and we’re just going to keep grinding and keep breaking until the season’s ended,” Jackson said.

WSU head coach Kyle Smith said the loss to USC definitely crushed the team’s spirits a bit and they’re going to regroup quickly in order to be ready for Washington.

“We’re a little emotionally down, I can tell we’re hanging our heads a little bit,” Smith said.

Last time against Washington (3-16, 2-12), the Cougars won 77-62 after a big performance from the starting lineup, who put up 70 of those points. The duo of senior and sophomore guards Isaac Bonton and Noah Williams combined for 46 points.

Since that loss to the Cougars, the Huskies have not won a game, going 0-4 over the past two weeks. Other than a three-point loss to the Bruins last Saturday, all the losses were double-digit defeats. This is Washington’s third losing streak of the season that spans at least three games.

Bonton had a late-game injury versus the Trojans on Saturday as he rolled both of his ankles. Smith said he anticipates that Bonton will play on Monday despite having to be helped off the court by the WSU trainers.

In other injuries, freshman forward Andrej Jakimovski has missed the past two games due to a groin injury, according to Smith. Jakimovski was seen shooting around shortly after the USC game in an empty Beasley Coliseum.

Jakimovski’s status for Monday’s game is still unknown, but Smith thinks there’s a good chance he will be good to go by then.

“I’m not sure, he’s had the groin issue,” Smith said. “I think he’s available, I think by Monday he should be okay.”

Sophomore guard Ryan Rapp and junior forward Aljaz Kunc have been key contributors off the bench for WSU in the past few games. As Kunc didn’t play against Washington last time out, and Rapp was virtually non-existent in the stat sheet, expect both of them to have impactful performances for the Cougars on Monday.

After having a mediocre outing against WSU last time out, Washington sophomore guard Marcus Tsohonis has put together a string of great scoring performances. He averages 15.5 points per game over the past four games, so expect him to have a considerable presence.

If WSU defeats Washington on Monday, it will be the first time since 2008 that the Cougars have had back-to-back season sweeps over the Huskies. A win would also continue Smith’s streak against the Huskies as it could be his fourth win all-time against them.

Tip-off between the Cougars and Huskies is at 5 p.m. on Monday. Fans will not be allowed to attend. However, the game will air on the Pac-12 Network.