Cougs maul Buffaloes in Beasley

Jakimovski records double-double in win



WSU guard Noah Williams (left) jumps for a layup during the first half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game against Colorado, Jan. 30, in Beasley Coliseum.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball (12-7, 5-3) closed out a home sweep of the Pac-12 mountain schools with a 70-43 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes (13-8, 5-6) on Sunday night.

The Cougars have now won three straight games, gaining some much-needed momentum at this point in the season. WSU split their two-game series with Colorado, losing the matchup earlier this year in Boulder, 83-78. 

The team spread the ball around a good bit, with four players getting into double figures on the night.

“As this program matures, we’re more like that,” head coach Kyle Smith said.

WSU dominated this one from the opening tip. Forwards Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye opened the scoring. Abogidi hit a layup, while Gueye hit the second three-point shot of his collegiate career. 

Colorado would come back to tie it up at five points on each side of the scoreboard. That would be the last time the game was tied, as Michael Flowers would hit back-to-back threes to jump the Cougar lead out to 11-5. 

WSU headed into the locker room leading 39-18, and in firm control of the game. 

In the second half, WSU continued to pour it onto the Buffs. After a WSU bucket and a couple of Colorado buckets, the Cougs started to pull away, going on a 21-9 run over the course of 10 minutes. 

With seven minutes left in the game, WSU had built their lead up to 35 points. Colorado cut it back down to a more respectable 27-point loss, but it never seemed like the Cougars were struggling in this one. 

Everything fell the way that the Cougars wanted. WSU shot 49% from the floor, including 43% shooting from behind the arc. They hit 12 shots from deep to really help extend the lead.

Leading the scoring was the veteran Flowers, who scored 16 points of 6-9 shooting from the floor. 

“I prepared the same way I did for the last game, and tonight, they went in,” Flowers said. “I’m grateful for that.”

Flowers also added five assists and five rebounds to his line.

WSU guard Noah Williams shoots a free throw during the first half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game against Colorado, Jan. 30, 2022 in Beasley Coliseum.

WSU did turn the ball over a lot in the second half, giving it up 13 times to just seven takeaways. As a whole, the Cougars were doing more to take the ball away than give it up, forcing 16 turnovers on the night.

The Cougs also out-rebounded Colorado 39-30 on the night, with Abogidi pulling in a team-best 11 rebounds. Andrej Jakimovski was not far behind with 10 of his own on his way to a 14-point double-double. Jakimovski also recorded a team-best three steals. 

Noah Williams and Tyrell Roberts both finished the game with double-digit scoring, as well, with both guards putting 10 points on the board.

Another key for the Cougs was staying out of foul trouble. The two primary bigs, Abogidi and Gueye, have consistently been in foul trouble this season. This game was a little different as Gueye still climbed to the four foul mark, but Abogidi only recorded a single foul in the game. 

Despite the game being the last one at home for a week and being against a decent Pac-12 opponent, attendance was sparse, to say the least.

“It’s a loud gym,” Smith said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like if there’s a few more people in there, Pullman.”

The win closes out a three-week home stand that was interrupted midway through because of COVID-19 issues.

Next up, the Cougars will hit the road for a pair of Bay Area matchups. WSU will face Stanford on Thursday, looking to avenge a 62-57 loss from earlier this season. Then, on Saturday, the Cougars look to finish the season sweep of Cal, who WSU defeated 65-57 in the home leg this season. Both games will be on the Pac-12 Network.