Cougs stay perfect against UC Santa Barbara

WSU defeats UCSB 73-65, Efe Abogidi leads game with 18 points

WSU+forward+Efe+Abogidi+%280%29+jumps+for+a+layup+during+a+college+basketball+game+against+UC+Santa+Barbara%2C+Nov.+15%2C+2021%2C+at+Beasley+Coliseum.

HAILEE SPEIR

WSU forward Efe Abogidi (0) jumps for a layup during a college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara, Nov. 15, 2021, at Beasley Coliseum.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen reporter

WSU (3-0) continued their flawless start to the season on Friday with a win over UC Santa Barbara (1-1), winning the contest 73-65.

WSU won the game primarily because of their overall field goal percentage of 46 percent. This is especially clear when compared to UC Santa Barbara’s overall field goal percentage of 39 percent.

HAILEE SPEIR
WSU guard Noah Williams (24) celebrates beneath the hoop during a college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara Monday at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman.

Efe Abogidi led the Cougs to victory, going 6-7 from the court and responsible for 18 points. Abogidi was also a major part of the WSU defense, leading the team with six blocks. Through the first three games of the season, Abogidi is averaging 9.7 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and an overall field goal percentage of 60 percent.

“The first four minutes [are] really, really important, so we just came out and did our job; you know, play as hard as you can for the first four minutes,” Abogidi said. “That’s when the game really matters.”

Four WSU players scored double-digit numbers in the night-time game. The four players include Abogidi, Tyrell Roberts, Michael Flowers and Noah Williams.

“I looked up at the scoreboard last game, and it was a certain time in the game when everybody had like nine, nine, nine, nine, eight points,” Williams said about WSU’s depth. “That’s huge; it just takes a lot of weight off everybody’s shoulders.”

Williams scored the second-most points for the Cougs with 13 points. Williams shot 50 percent from 2-point range, showcasing his ability to get inside the paint in just a few steps. The game against UC Santa Barbara is Williams’ second 13-point game in a row, performing with similar results against the Seattle Redhawks earlier in the week. Last season, Williams averaged 14.1 points per game, revealing that Williams is still in the groove so far this year.

Roberts, a former star for UC San Diego, showed up in a big way against UC Santa Barbara. Roberts was on the court the most for the Cougs, accounting for 31 minutes in the game. In those 31 minutes, Roberts scored 11 points for WSU.

HAILEE SPEIR
WSU forward Mouhamed Gueye (35) dunks the basketball during a college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara, Nov. 15, 2021, at Beasley Coliseum.

Against UC Santa Barbara, Flowers tied Roberts with 11 points. Flowers is used to high-scoring performances, previously playing at South Alabama, where he was ranked 15th in scoring for all of Division I basketball. While making shots himself, Flowers also shared some of the baskets with teammates, obtaining five assists.

Coming into the season, UC Santa Barbara was projected to win the Big West Conference. Because of their projections this season and their performance last season, UC Santa Barbara was the most difficult matchup for WSU’s first week of play. 

“This was a really good team that came in here that played in the NCAA tournament, had an opportunity to beat Creighton last year and a really good test for us,” WSU head coach Kyle Smith said.

Amadou Sow led the Gauchos in scoring with 25 points. Overall, Sow is one of two UC Santa Barbara players to score more than 10 points. Sow impacted the game on both offense and defense, being able to score consistently and putting up 11 rebounds. 

Next up for the Cougs is the quick 8-mile drive to Moscow to play the Idaho Vandals (1-2) at 6 p.m. tonight. The game will be televised on ESPN+.