The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cougs get revenge on Golden Bears

WSU enters historic territory with sixth straight win
Jaylen Wells shoots from just inside the three-point line for a quick 2 points early in the first half, Feb. 15, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU men’s basketball (19-6, 10-4 Pac-12) beat Cal (10-15, 6-8 Pac-12) in Pullman Thursday. They won by a score of 84-65, taking the second of two matchups between the two teams and splitting the season with the Golden Bears.

Oscar Cluff opened the game with a block, and within just a few minutes he had another block and a stop that might as well have been a block. 

Jaylon Tyson drew first blood with a fading jumper, but his two points were the only ones for the Bears until the 13-minute mark

Jaylen Wells started the Cougs off by creating a mid-range jumper, and Myles Rice hit a floater of his own a possession later.

The Cougar offense was struggling early, but the defense was keeping them in the lead until a quick run by Cal tied the game at 10-10 with around 11 minutes left in the first.

The Bears kept it neck-and-neck for much of the period, but they were overwhelmed by a pair of 3-pointers from Andrej Jakimovski and timely makes by Rice and Isaac Jones. That run gave the Cougs a double-digit lead that they did not give up for the remainder of the game.

The score was 36-24 at the half, thanks to Oscar Cluff and company. His four blocks and one each from Isaiah Watts and Kymany Houinsou prevented twelve Cal points, the very amount the Cougs led by.

Rice led the game with 10 points and was tied for the Cougar lead with five rebounds. Isaac Jones and Wells had seven each, and Jakimovski had hit a pair of 3-pointers to score six.

Forward Isaac Jones and center Rueben Chinyelu chest bump in celebration during an NCAA men’s basketball game against Cal, Feb. 15, 2024, in Pullman, Wash.

Wells started the second half with yet another midrange jumper, and Rice immediately drained a 3-pointer the next time down the floor. The offense was already off to a better start than the first half, and it did not slow down until the final buzzer.

Not long after that, Rice hit another 3-pointer, this time facing a heavy contest in the corner. He got a dramatic half-court steal on the following Cal possession, running the floor and throwing the assist to a Rueben Chinyelu dunk.

Rice was not done yet, driving for a layup and nailing a pair of jumpers to give him 23 points at the 12-minute mark. The shot that gave him his 23rd point put the Cougs up 19 points, a lead they kept for the remainder of the game.

The final score was 84-65. Rice, Jones and the Cougs now sit on a six-game win streak and have won nine of their last ten games. With Arizona set to play only one game this week, the Cougs have pulled within .5 games of first place in the conference.

Rice finished the game with 25, having made two free throws after his scoring outburst in the middle of the half. Jones had 21 points and nine rebounds, and he did it with tremendous efficiency.

Jones made eight of his ten shots, an astonishing 80%, and he drew fouls on five of those makes. So far this season no team has managed to figure him out consistently; Jones just knows how and when to get his shots.

WSU guard Myles Rice jumps for a layup during an NCAA basketball game against California, Feb. 15, 2024, in Pullman, Wash.

Wells, Jakimovski and Chinyelu were the others in double digits with 12, 12 and 10 respectively.  Houinsou led the bench in playing time, getting 17 minutes and dishing out five assists in that time.

“For us, it’s boring. It’s just really staying in the same routine,” head coach Kyle Smith said. “That’s what you got to do.”

Boring is one word for it, dominant is another. The Cougs are on the best 10-game run since two decades before the school became known as Washington State University when Jack Friel led the State College of Washington to a 9-1 run against teams from the long-extinct Pacific Coast Conference.

Their next chance to build upon the run comes against Stanford, a team the Cougs already beat earlier this season. With the tournament within reach, they just need to keep winning. They have more than proven themselves capable of that.

The Stanford game will tip off 3 p.m. Saturday in Pullman. Fans can watch on the Pac-12 Network.

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About the Contributors
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.
EMMA DECASA, Evergreen photographer
Emma Decasa is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, she is a junior majoring in Advertising, with a minor in Sports Communication. Emma started working for the Daily Evergreen in the fall of 2023.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.