Men’s basketball continues losing skid

WSU scored 27 points, shot 34.6 percent in final frame after holding halftime lead


RYAN PUGH | Daily Evergreen File

Forward Robert Franks led the Cougars in scoring last season and has decided to return for his senior season.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen assistant sports editor

A trip to Texas to take on University of Texas El Paso for WSU men’s basketball didn’t start or end the way the Cougars were hoping.

The team missed their initial flight from Spokane to El Paso on Friday because of an accident on U.S. Highway 195, the Spokesman Review reported. The Cougars then boarded two separate airplanes, both of which landed in Texas at 10 p.m., seven hours later than the team was originally scheduled to arrive.

WSU (6-3) then entered the Don Haskins Center on Saturday and fell 76-69 to UTEP (3-6). The loss marks the third consecutive defeat for the Cougars after starting the season 6-0.

The Cougars led 42-39 at halftime, but shot 34.6 percent from the field and scored only 27 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.

UTEP took a 47-45 lead about two and a half minutes into the second half and never gave it back. WSU was able to tie the game twice after the Miners gained the advantage and trailed 66-65 with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

But two late turnovers by sophomore guard Malachi Flynn and four missed three-pointers in the final three minutes by the Cougars helped the Miners pull away and earn the victory.

Flynn scored a season-low three points on the night. He tallied his only points of the game on a three-pointer with just under five minutes remaining in the second half. Flynn made only one of his eight attempted shots in the game.

Junior guard Viont’e Daniels had a team high 18 points for the Cougars. All of his 12 attempted shots on the night came from behind the three-point arc and he made six of them.

WSU junior forward Robert Franks extended his streak of scoring in double figures to seven games by racking up 14 points against UTEP. He shot 50 percent from the field in the game and added nine rebounds and four assists for WSU.

Two other Cougars scored in double-digits. Junior guard Kwinton Hinson scored 10 points in his first career start and redshirt senior forward Drick Bernstine added a career high 13 points.

The Miners were led by graduate guard Keith Frazier who scored 21 points and had eight rebounds. UTEP senior guard Omega Harris added 18 points and made all eight of his free-throw attempts.

UTEP opened the year 1-5, but has now won two out of its last three games since assistant Phil Johnson took over as interim head coach less than two weeks ago.

WSU returns to the court 3 p.m. Saturday for a game against Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis at Beasley Coliseum.