Cougs drop another against UCLA

Bruins sweep season series



WSU guard TJ Bamba dribbles the ball during an NCAA men’s basketball game against ASU, Jan 28.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

There was reason to be hopeful for this one. Unfortunately, that hope was unfounded, as the Cougs fell by more than 20 points Saturday. The final score was 76-52, a far cry from the single-point loss the Cougs suffered to the Bruins earlier in the season.

WSU men’s basketball (10-15, 5-9 Pac-12) played UCLA (19-4, 10-2 Pac-12) in a rematch of a close Coug loss from earlier this year.

It was a blowout in the truest sense and it was really only the first blowout loss of the season for the Cougs.

Despite the blowout, it did start tight. It was going pretty well for the Cougs until a string of bad turnovers in the first half let the Bruins pull into a double-digit lead, which they held above 10 for much of the rest of the game.

The lead got down to as low as 7 for a moment in the second half, but it was clear that it would not get closer than that when the Bruins put up a 13-0 run with the same amount of time left in the game.

That run made the lead 20 and it only went up from there as the game ended with the Bruins up by 24.

This game might have looked different if the Cougs were not so short-handed. Head coach Kyle Smith put it best when he said they had “7¼ scholarship guys.”

That quarter player was Adrame Diongue, who played sparingly in a return from illness.

In a game with so few healthy players, your stars have to show out. The Cougs saw that against USC when Mouhamed Gueye needed to put up 31 for the team to have a chance. Unfortunately, Gueye could not match that kind of production in this game, being held to only 6 points and four rebounds.

TJ Bamba and Justin Powell led WSU with 19 and 15 respectively as the rest of the roster managed only 16 combined. It is very close to impossible to win a game with these kinds of numbers, especially against a team as good as UCLA.

The only bright side — and this one is a stretch —  is that losing big means that the team will be looking to bounce back in maybe the most important game to be bouncing back: the Apple Cup.

UW has been a similar team to WSU this year in record but they lack the same types of big wins the Cougs have managed. It is a near certainty that it will be a good game.

That game starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Beasley Coliseum. It goes without saying that all who can, should be in attendance and only tune into the Pac-12 Network if they cannot be in Pullman.