WSU looks for first road win of season

Cougars face Montana State, Elleby believes team needs better start



Senior guard Viont’e Daniels shoots a three-point shot in a game against Delaware State on Nov. 24 at Beasley Coliseum.

SIGMUND SEROKA, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball will meet at a neutral site to face Montana State on Sunday. Both teams will be traveling to Kennewick, Washington, to play in the Cougars eighth game of the season.

WSU (5-2) is coming fresh off a win against border-rival Idaho (3-5). The final result was a 90-70 WSU victory with senior forward Robert Franks Jr. and freshman guard CJ Elleby leading the way.

Elleby was pleased with the performance but felt the intensity of their play needed to be uniform throughout.

“We have to come out from the start and play the same way the whole game,” Elleby said. “We can’t go up and down with our level and our effort and our energy.”

Franks tallied 22 points, four rebounds and two assists while Elleby racked up 20 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Elleby stepped it up in the minutes before halftime when he scored 10 of the team’s last 13 points to put WSU in the lead.

Another key offensive player for WSU was junior guard Ahmed Ali who added an additional 14 points in 18 minutes of action. Coming out of the game with only four turnovers against the Vandals, the Cougars’ offense appears to be running smoothly and operating without too many mistakes.

Montana State is coming in at 2-6 having lost every game on the road this season. The Bobcats’ last outing was a home win against North Dakota by a final score of 81-76.

Their leading scorer for the game was senior forward Keljin Blevins, cousin of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who scored 18 points. Junior guard Tyler Hall added 16 points to reach 2,000 career points.

Hall is also 155 points away from claiming the all-time Big Sky Conference scoring record of 2,169 points and could break the Bobcats’ career scoring record with 20 more points. Aside from all the accolades his players may collect, there is more important matters on Head Coach Brian Fish’s mind.

“We’ve got to get tougher, tougher, tougher,” Fish said. “I think we took strides towards that tonight.”

This matchup will test both teams as neither can seem to pick up wins on the road. Both the Cougars and the Bobcats are winless in away games, though WSU has only played two to MSU’s five.

The game will tip off at 4 p.m. Sunday in Kennewick, Washington, at the Toyota Center. The game can also be seen on Pac-12 Networks.