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 beat Stanford to sweep season series

Historic run continues for men’s hoops
WSU+forward+Jaylen+Wells+tries+to+cross+up+Stanford+forward+Spencer+Jones+during+an+NCAA+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+game%2C+Feb.+17.+2024%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.
COLE QUINN
WSU forward Jaylen Wells tries to cross up Stanford forward Spencer Jones during an NCAA men’s basketball game, Feb. 17. 2024, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU men’s basketball (20-6, 11-4 Pac-12) beat Stanford (12-13, 7-8 Pac-12) in Pullman Saturday. They won by a score of 72-59, sweeping the season series against the Cardinal in front of one of the biggest crowds in years.

Stanford jumped out to an early lead, but neither team was starting well. Multiple travels by the Cardinal and some bad misses by the Cougs were keeping it close.

The tide turned when Andrej Jakimovski hit a 3-pointer with 13:24 left in the half. He had missed his first three attempts but did not let it bother him, and when he made his fourth he gave the Cougs a 12-9 lead.

Four minutes later, the score was 23-14. The Cougs were making shots and playing solid defense, but as the period continued, Stanford stepped up.

Creating turnovers and forcing missed, the Cardinal found themselves with a 36-35 lead at halftime.

Myles Rice had 35 last time the Cougs played Stanford. Through the first half, he was not having quite the same success, and Stanford had taken advantage.

Making only one of his five shots, Rice had only four points so far. His three assists kept it from being a truly bad period for him, but it was still not up to what is expected from him.

Jaylen Wells was leading the Cougs with eight points, trailed by Isaac Jones and Kymany Houinsou who each had seven. The Cougs were not playing to their potential, but there was a whole half left.

Jones started the second off with a layup that gave the Cougs the lead, but the scoring was back-and-forth for a good chunk of the second half. Stanford met Jones’ layup with a 3-pointer, which was met by Wells with another 3-pointer.

The lead changed hands six times in the first five minutes of the half until Stanford started to create some separation. Up five points, the Cardinal gave up an offensive rebound to Houinsou.

He threw it to Rice, who hit a 3-pointer. Oscar Cluff blocked a 3-pointer on defense, and the ball ended up back with Rice. He shot it from outside for the lead — and missed it. Cluff was there again, though, and he threw the offensive rebound to Wells who threw it to Rice.

This time, Rice did not miss. Beasley erupted, and momentum started to shift in the Cougs’ direction. Still, Stanford was not going down without a fight. The lead changed five more times before the final Cougar lead, which came with just over nine minutes left.

Rice led the play again, dishing it to an open Jakimovski standing at the arc. He nailed the 3-pointer, which put the Cougs up 55-53. Those three points were the first of an 11-0 run by the Cougs, finally dominating in the fashion that they have shown they are capable of doing.

The dagger, if there can be one in a win so big, came with 4:20 left in the game. Up eight, the Cougs were on offense looking to make it a double-digit lead again. Rice drove into the paint but was met with three defenders.

He made an abrupt pass to the corner, where Jakimovski stood. His defender had been one of the pair who helped on Rice’s drive, and now Oscar Cluff stood between that defender and Jakimovski. He was wide open, and he drilled it to bring the lead up to 11.

The final score was 72-59. After being outscored by one point in the first, the Cougs had won the second half by 14.

The Cougs had no true top performer in this game, instead winning with a balanced approach. Four starters scored in double-figures, led by Wells and Jones with 15 each. Rice finished with 14 points, five assists and a steal. While it was not his best game, he showed up when it counted.

JULIAN CABLLERO
WSU Forward Issac Jones slams the ball into the basket during an NCAA Men’s Basketball game against Stanford, Feb 17, 2024, in Pullman, Wash.

The only starter not in double-digits was Cluff, who had eight. While he did not score in droves, his presence was greatly felt on the defensive end. He had three of the Cougs’ five blocks and three of the Cougs’ eight steals. He also led the game with 12 rebounds, six of them offensive.

“It’s just all piecing together right now,” Cluff said of the defense. “The whole team is playing defense together well.”

Next up for the Cougs is the biggest test of that defense yet: an away rematch with No. 5 Arizona on national television. The Cougs beat then-No. 8 Arizona in Pullman earlier this year, the second win of the 10-1 stretch they are still on.

Arizona has only gotten stronger, and the two teams now sit tied for first in wins in the Pac-12. A loss would not be a huge issue for the Cougs, who have all but cemented themselves as a tournament team by now, but a win would almost certainly see them ranked in the top 20.

That game will tip off 8 p.m. Saturday at Arizona. Fans can watch on Fox Sports.

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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.