Cougs take leg one of Apple Cup

WSU moves to 6-1 against Huskies across all sports this year



WSU guard Tyrell Roberts jumps for a layup during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UW in Beasley Coliseum, Feb. 23.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen reporter

The Cougar men’s basketball team (15-12, 8-8) maintained state dominance against rival Washington (13-13, 8-8) with a 78-70 win on their home court Wednesday night. 

WSU’s big men dominated against the Husky zone defense. Typically, zone is expected to protect the paint, but Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye were able to find the soft spots in the zone and capitalize to the fullest.

“I was very surprised I was that wide open,” Gueye said. “I was not used to it. It took me like five minutes to get into, but after I realized I was wide open all the time, I kept shooting it.”

Gueye led the team’s scoring with 25 points, a career-high for the freshman, on 11-23 shooting from the field. His front-court mate, Abogidi, recorded a dominant double-double with 21 points on 7-9 shooting and 14 rebounds, including an incredible 10 offensive boards.

“They were not boxing me out,” Abogidi said. “I was just wide open on the rebound. That’s my job: get the ball every time the ball goes up.” 

Michael Flowers joined the two big men as the only other double-digit scorer wearing white with 12 points of his own. Half of Flowers’ points came from the charity stripe with the South Alabama transfer going 6-7 from the free throw line.

Butch T. Cougar shows his sign off to the crowd during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UW in Beasley Coliseum, Feb. 23.

On the defensive end, the Cougars locked on to Terrell Brown Jr., the Huskies’ leading scorer. This season Brown is averaging 21.4 points and 4.5 assists. In this game, they forced him to be more of a facilitator and took his scoring away, giving up just 11 points, while Brown recorded eight assists.

“Hats off to Brown,” Flowers said. “He’s a good player, averaging 20 something, but tonight we made his job hard. We did it as a team, and we have to do it again this weekend.”

The first half would go back and forth between these two teams with both teams going on scoring runs. However, when the buzzer sounded, the Cougs and the Huskies went into halftime with a 33-33 tie.

Just 21 seconds into the second half, Flowers hit a three to get the Cougs out front. WSU would hold the lead for the remainder of the game.

That first three triggered a 13-3 run to start the half that helped give WSU a solid lead. 

The second half was really a half of runs for WSU. They rarely traded buckets with the Huskies, with both teams getting a series of buckets at a time. In fact, it was another run that led to the WSU win, with the Cougs going on a 7-0 run over the final 2:31 to close out the victory.

The game of runs seemed to be a microcosm of a season of runs. The Cougs started the year on a five-game winning streak before tapering off a little. However, just a couple of months later, WSU would record a five-game conference winning streak. That would be immediately followed by five straight losses. 

This game snapped that streak for the Cougs and a win on Saturday against these same Huskies could lead to another streak, as the Cougs face last-placed Oregon State in back-to-back games, potentially setting up a four-game winning streak.

The Cougs will now hit the road and head across the Evergreen State for another Apple Cup meeting, this time inside of Alaska Airlines Arena on Montlake. The game will tipoff at 3 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.