WSU wins Battle of Palouse

WSU hands Idaho largest loss in program history

WSU+guard+Tyrell+Roberts+%282%29+jumps+before+passing+the+ball+during+a+college+basketball+game+against+the+University+of+Idaho+on+Nov.+18%2C+2021%2C+in+Moscow%2C+Idaho.

COLE QUINN

WSU guard Tyrell Roberts (2) jumps before passing the ball during a college basketball game against the University of Idaho on Nov. 18, 2021, in Moscow, Idaho.

TOM ABBOTT, Evergreen reporter

The Cougs (4-0) traveled across state lines to play the Idaho Vandals (1-3) on Friday, winning this year’s rendition of the longtime rivalry 109-61.

WSU’s win over the Vandals showcased the depth of the Cougars roster. Six WSU players recorded at least 10 points with three other players scoring at least eight points.

COLE QUINN
WSU forward DJ Rodman (11) protects the ball from University of Idaho guard Gabe Quinnett (21) during a college basketball game on Nov. 18, 2021, in Moscow, Idaho.

“I tell our guys probably twice a week, I address them before practice and say, ‘We have no bad players, we have no guys that can’t play at this level,’’’ WSU head coach Kyle Smith said.

Veteran guard Noah Williams led the Cougs with seven made baskets and 16 points. He spent 26 minutes on the court, the most minutes played on the team.

Williams was also responsible for five assists in the fourth WSU victory of the season. So far this season, the guard has held up his reputation as a reliable shooter, averaging 11.3 points per game.

The other five players who scored more than 10 points were Mouhamed Gueye with 13, Michael Flowers with 13, Efe Abogidi with 12, Ryan Rapp with 12 and T.J. Bamba with 11.

Overall, WSU made 60.6 percent of their two-point shots, dominating close to the hoop. Idaho shot about half as well from close range, making 30.5 percent of their two-point attempts. 

Dominating on offense from inside the paint typically means dominating the glass on defense as well. WSU did exactly that against the Vandals, out-rebounding Idaho 37-26.

COLE QUINN
WSU guard Noah Williams (24) dribbles the ball during a college basketball game against the University of Idaho on Nov. 18, 2021, in Moscow, Idaho.

Gueye led WSU’s dominance in the paint, shooting 6-7 from two-point range and recording six defensive rebounds. 

“Number 21 was guarding me, he’s 6-4 and I’m 6-11 so you just gotta take advantage,” Gueye said after the game.

Friday’s victory is the first time WSU has scored over 100 points since November 27, 2018, against Cal State Northridge, when WSU won 103-94. The Cougars’ 109-61 win is tied for the third largest win margin in WSU history at 48 points. The 48-point margin is also Idaho’s largest losing margin in program history. The last time the Cougars won by more than 40 points was November 30, 2010, versus Sacramento State, 84-36.

The Cougs recorded a season low five turnovers against the Vandals. For Smith, seeing his team handle the ball well after a turnover-filled season last year has to feel good.

“We played probably our best game since I’ve been here,” Smith said. “Really proud of how our guys were unselfish throughout, played the right way on both sides of the ball, and really, you don’t get many games like that in your coaching career.”

Senior guard Mikey Dixon led the Vandals’ scoring effort with 12 points, scoring seven of those points from the free throw line. Although everyone on Idaho’s roster made at least one basket, only Dixon scored more than 10 points in the loss.

Currently, WSU is one of six undefeated Pac-12 teams. WSU will look to continue their undefeated season against Winthrop (2-1) at 6 p.m. Monday in Beasley Coliseum.