Cougs move to 2-0

WSU knocks off Seattle 79-61 in primetime matchup



WSU guard Noah Williams (24) dribbles the ball past Seattle University guard Riley Grigsby (11) during a college basketball game at Beasley Coliseum, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Pullman.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen sports editor

The Cougars (2-0) added another win to their record on Friday against the Seattle Redhawks (1-1), winning the second game of the season 79-61. 

Leading the Cougs to victory was starting guard Tyrell Roberts. Roberts put up 17 points with one rebound and one assist. Roberts went 4-8 behind the arc, accounting for the majority of points scored. He was one of two players to shoot 50 percent from 3-point range on Friday.

“I thought Ty played really well,” WSU head coach Kyle Smith said. “He’s getting comfortable out there. You know, made big shots and ran the team.”

For Seattle, Nate Robinson led the team in points with 17. Robinson also made four shots from 3-point range, resulting in a similar performance to Roberts.

WSU guard Tyrell Roberts (2) looks for a pass while forward Mouhamed Gueye (35) sets up a screen during a college basketball game against Seattle University, Friday in Pullman.

The win against Seattle is the second time WSU has put up more than 75 points in a game this season, a dramatic change from last year when the Cougs put up more than 75 points in just six outings.

The big bodies of WSU consistently controlled the paint, resulting in 28 points from the inside and 39 rebounds total. Putting up these inside shots were mainly Dishon Jackson and Mouhamed Gueye.

Jackson shot 6-7 and led the Cougars in rebounds with nine. After a slow start against Alcorn State, Jackson seems to be back in his comfort zone, tallying points from close-range for the Cougs, as usual. 

Gueye continued to impress WSU fans in his freshman season on Friday, putting up 10 points for the Crimson and Gray. The 6-foot-11 Senegal native is an exciting and physical player to watch and will be throughout his time as a Coug. 

Another factor inside the paint for WSU is sophomore Efe Abogidi who was responsible for four blocks. Last year in his freshman season, Abogidi was selected for the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. In his debut season, Abogidi started in all 27 Cougar matchups resulting in 7.2 rebounds per game and 1.3 blocks per game.

“We should have a team that can wear you down,” Smith said. “We got depth, we got good size and as they get older, more mature and confident, hopefully, that’ll be a mark of our team.”

Seattle ran into foul trouble in the game, with guard Darrion Trammell reaching five personal fouls. In total, Seattle had 26 personal fouls against the Cougs, four less than WSU.

Last year’s problem for the Cougs was turnovers, but free-throw shooting seems to be a new issue for the young WSU offensive players. Overall, WSU shot 57.6% *percent -TD from the free-throw line, going 19-33. 

“Coach [Shaw], he’s revved up man,” Smith said about WSU’s free-throw shooting. “I told someone to get the defibrillator ready for him. He was about ready to lose it.”

WSU guard TJ Bamba shoots a three-pointer during a college basketball game against Seattle University at Beasley Coliseum, Friday in Pullman.

The first prime-time men’s basketball game of the season brought more fans into Beasley than the season opener, which was played at noon, a time when most WSU students have class. For the first time since 2019, Beasley was home to the usual cheering and support from the WSU student section.

Before making the trip across the state, Seattle faced Alcorn State at home. In the close matchup, Seattle beat Alcorn State 69-66. 

Seattle also was missing their former head coach Jim Hayford, who resigned Thursday afternoon, less than a week after being put on leave by the university. Interim head coach Chris Victor will try to replicate his previous success as head coach for Citrus College in California where he coached the team to a 103-39 overall record.

WSU, now 2-0, finishes the three-game homestand against UC Santa Barbara (1-0) at 8 p.m. Monday in Beasley Coliseum. In their season-opener, UCSB beat SFSU by a staggering 119-65. Coverage of the game will be on the Pac-12 network.