Sweltering Cougs win another blowout

WSU beat Cal by double-digits, Rodman gets hot from three again



WSU guard Kymany Houinsou dunks the ball during an NCAA basketball game against California, Jan. 11.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

The Golden Bears may have Monty Bowser on their roster, but this was no boss battle. This felt more akin to something like “World 2-2” of “1985’s Super Mario Bros”. After completing a Bowser castle, Mario is treated to a rather comfortable run through the overworld. Of course, there are still complications, like the Piranha Plants, Goombas and Koopas, but it is ultimately simple and comfortable.

The Cougs did to their opponents exactly what Mario does to his foes: they stomped them.

WSU men’s basketball (8-10, 3-4 Pac-12) traveled back to Pullman on Wednesday to play Cal (3-14, 2-4 Pac-12). After one of the greatest wins in program history against Arizona, the Cougs were trending up in a major way coming into this game. That trend continued as the Cougs sans-leading scorer TJ Bamba crushed the Golden Bears by a score of 66-51. Bamba was out because of a hand injury.

The game started messy, as Cal hit their 3-pointers and Wazzu had a few close whistles not go their way. Cal held a small advantage for most of the first 10 minutes, never pulling far ahead but not ceding the lead.

WSU forward Mouhamed Guye participates in the tip off during a NCAA men’s basketball game against California Jan 11th.

Things were tense in the arena as the Cougs had unacceptable turnovers that frustrated many attempted runs, and the Bears were consistently creating offense out of possessions that seemed like they would be empty.

WSU needed a one-up, and it came when at exactly the 10-minute mark when Justin Powell hit a three to take the lead after an offensive rebound. It was a clear turning point, and the offense started looking more like it is supposed to look.

The following points for the Cougs came on a strong and-one by Mouhamed Gueye and a speedy steal into a transition layup and-one by Powell. Another steal led to a Jabe Mullins 3-pointer, and all of the sudden the Cougs were up 5 points.

WSU forward Mouhamed Guye dunks the ball during a NCAA men’s basketball game against California Jan 11th.

Not to be defeated yet, the Golden Bears put up a good fight, continuing to hit 3-pointers at a good clip and make the Cougs work on offense. As the clock expired, DeJuan Clayton hit a three, cutting the Cougar lead down to only 1 point.

At halftime, Gueye led the Cougars with 11 points while Kuany Kuany’s 7 points led the Golden Bears. The Cougs were shooting splits of 40% from the field and 30% from outside, while the Bears were shooting 44% and 55%. The score was 31-30, Cougars.

The second half started much better than the first half ended for the Cougs. Wazzu started the half by putting up a 12-0 run, pulling to a 43-30 lead. They were powered up and the threes were going down.

DJ Rodman shot three 3-pointers in a span of two minutes.

WSU forward DJ Rodman dribbles down the court during an NCAA basketball game against California, Jan. 11.

The Bears were not getting the looks they had been living on in the first half and without those shots, they could not manage to get anything going.

The rest of the half was much of the same, as the Cougs looked like they must have snagged a Super Star in the locker room at halftime. There were no more scary moments and WSU only continued to grow the lead.

With the minutes dwindling away, chants of “We want Jack” began. With 2:30 left, Kyle Smith obliged and put in Jack Wilson. The stadium roared to life. For those unaware, Wilson was on the football team as an offensive lineman and has had a fascinating route to WSU and to the basketball team.

He began his college sports career playing basketball at Oregon State before transferring to University of Idaho. He transferred to WSU, walked onto the football team and earned a starting role. After joining WSU men’s basketball mid-season, he has become a fan favorite. Kind of like … Wario. This Mario thing is a lot of pressure.

This one was close enough in the first half that the second half did not feel like running up the score, but ultimately that is kind of what it was. The Cougs scored 35 in the second while the Bears only managed to get 13 points before an 8-0 run in garbage time put them at 21 points.

Sorry, Golden Bears, but your win is in another castle.

The Cougs see their next action against Stanford, who were recently blown out by the very team the Cougs just blew out. It is another must-win, but mostly because it is also another should-win.

Cougar nation will see if the Cougs can keep this up at 5 p.m. Saturday at Beasley Coliseum. Fans can watch on Pac-12 Network.