Men’s basketball takes down Seattle University

For third consecutive year, Cougars kick off regular season with two victories


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

WSU redshirt freshman forward Arinze Chidom attempts a layup in a game yesterday against Seatle University at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars won 75-59.

DANIEL PARAMO, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball (2-0) faced off against Seattle University (1-1) in its second consecutive home game to start the season. The Cougars edged out the Redhawks 75-59, swinging the all-time record to 8-7 in WSU’s favor. The Cougars came from behind to win for the second time in as many games.

SU visited Pullman with a 1-1 record, taking a loss to Saint Louis University 62-46, before defeating University of Puget Sound 121-70. That offensive display helped them set a new program scoring record.

The game opened slowly, taking over three minutes for the first score. Four fouls were committed by both teams in that same period. The Redhawks had the first basket of the night. SU outshot and outscored the Cougs at the start of the first half, but were unable to widen the gap as WSU matched them shot for shot.

Redshirt senior guard Richaud Gittens sunk the first two free throws of the first half for the Redhawks as the Cougars continued to foul. WSU junior guard Viont’e Daniels scored the first three-point field goal after two team attempts.

Junior forward Robert Franks scored another three-point shot soon after, landing the Cougars their first lead of the night with six minutes to play in the opening half. The lead would not last, and the remainder of the half mostly belonged to the Redhawks’ offense because of multiple Cougar fouls.

“I just felt like we kept knocking ourselves out of rhythm,” Head Coach Ernie Kent said, “either with an unforced turnover [or] a missed wide-open shot. We gave up nine second-chance points in the first half.”

Seattle University’s lead grew late in the half before culminating in a three-point field goal from redshirt senior guard Josh Hearlihy. He played all 20 minutes of the half, the only player to do so, and scored in the last two seconds to expand his team’s lead to 31-26.

Daniels led the Cougs in scoring during the first half.

“I know that we can shoot way better,” he said. “As the game’s going, we’ll just start shooting better.”

The early minutes of the second half saw a technical foul called on Redhawks’ redshirt junior center Aaron Menzies. The resulting free throws were both converted by Franks. Soon after, the Cougs took the lead through sophomore guard Carter Skaggs, he made four consecutive three-pointers.

Skaggs soon added to his three-point tally with a quick release shot, a conversion that continued to propel the Cougs ahead of SU. WSU sophomore guard Malachi Flynn then converted a layup while being fouled, but missed the awarded free throw.

Skaggs found redshirt freshman forward Arinze Chidom wide open under the Redhawks’ basket, and Chidom converted with a dunk. He added to his personal score not long after the dunk with a pair of free throws.

The guard finished the game with another three-point field goal and a free throw as he was fouled on the shot.

Despite their slow start, the Cougars rallied in the second half and specifically in the final five minutes to start the season 2-0.

“People need to come watch this team,” Kent said. “There are going to be some nights that you don’t want to miss one of those incredible performances like the one you saw tonight.”

The men’s team came into the game having hosted and defeated Texas Southern University 86-84 in overtime. They stay in Pullman for one more home match.

Idaho State University visits the Palouse for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff Saturday at Beasley Coliseum.