Cougs split men’s basketball Apple Cup

WSU won home game Wednesday, dropped road game Saturday



WSU guard Michael Flowers (12) dribbles by UW guard Terrell Brown Jr. (23) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Beasley Coliseum, Feb. 23.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen reporter

On Saturday, the Cougs (15-13, 8-9) finished a back-to-back series with in-state rivals Washington (14-13, 9-8), falling 78-70.

The game came just three days after a 78-70 win inside of Beasley Coliseum against the Huskies team.

“I think our effort as a team was okay,” WSU head coach Kyle Smith said. “Like I said, they played better than us, but we had a couple of guys that played poorly. You can have a good effort, but you still have to play well, and we didn’t.”

WSU played really well in the first half, going into the break with a 34-28 lead over the Huskies. Michael Flowers had the lead in points going into the half with 30 first-half points, shooting 9-18 from the floor and 7-12 from three.

“He played well,” Smith said. “It’s what seniors do this time of year. He brought a great effort.”

The second half, like so many times this season, was a totally different story. Flowers still managed to find 10 points of his own, but no one else eclipsed the five-point mark.

For the Huskies, the offense finally got going, with the team in white scoring 50 second-half points to complete the comeback and grab just the second win of the year for Washington over WSU across all sports.

One thing to look at for the game is free throw shooting. WSU was perfect from the charity stripe, hitting all 13 shots they attempted. Washington did miss a couple of free throws, but they shot 29 in total. That is more than double the number the Cougars took.

To make that number jump even more, you can make the comparison half-by-half. In the first half,  WSU shot five free throws to Washington’s seven. In the second half, WSU shot eight to Washington’s 22.

The Cougs did not help themselves with shooting from the field either, with their three-point percentage dropping from 38.5% in the first half down to 28.6% in the second half.

Now, with the Apple Cup behind them, WSU looks ahead to another back-to-back series with a conference opponent. This time, however, they get the team at the bottom of the Pac-12 as they face off with the Oregon State Beavers (3-24, 1-16).

The Cougs’ neighbors to the south should not provide too much trouble for the Crimson and Gray, having only won once in conference play. That one win came over Utah at the end of December. The Beavers won 88-76 in that one on their home floor.

That home floor is where this series will begin as WSU will travel to Corvallis, Ore. for game one of the series at 8 p.m. on Monday. The game will be on ESPNU, giving WSU a chance to play against a lesser opponent on national television.

The second game of the series will come at 8 p.m. on Thursday. This time, Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum will host the battle. Once again, it will be nationally televised, this time being presented on FS1.