Cougars fall apart against Mavericks

Men’s basketball loses lead to University of Nebraska, Omaha in Beasley Coliseum on Thursday night



Freshman guard Ryan Rapp looks to make a move against Omaha on Thursday night at Beasley Coliseum.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

The Cougars (2-2, 0-0) were defeated by the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks (3-3, 0-0) 85-77 in a test for the WSU offense.

Sophomore forward CJ Elleby lead the team in scoring and rebounds with 27 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Isaac Bonton scored 18 points while dishing out six assists and brought in seven rebounds.

WSU was contested early as they trailed to Omaha until 6:29 left in the first half. When Omaha lead 27-24, an 11-0 run from WSU that included three 3-pointers from Bonton and senior forward Jeff Pollard.

Elleby, Bonton and Pollard each scored double-digit points in the first half. The Cougars made 12 3-pointers throughout the game; this is a new season-high for them.

Senior guard Jaylen Shead did not play against Omaha. Senior guard Jervae Robinson replaced Shead in the starting lineup and managed to score four points. Head coach Kyle Smith predicted that Shead might be back for the Cayman Island Classic next week.

“If he’s not, we’ll just keep pushing through,” Smith said.

Freshman guard Ryan Rapp and freshman center Volodymyr Markovetskyy made their collegiate debuts for the Cougars in the first half. Markovetskyy scored his first collegiate basket in the four minutes he played.

Smith looks forward to Rapp and Markovetskyy developing as the season proceeds.

“I thought they did a good job,” Smith said. “Just got to keep getting better.”

With 5:49 left in the second half, WSU lost the lead to Omaha that they held for more than 20 minutes. Omaha proceeded to maintain its lead to walk away with a win in Beasley.

Despite Elleby’s 27 points, his scoring ceased at around the 11-minute mark of the second half. Elleby took the blame for his lack of scoring late in the game.

“I just think I wasn’t being aggressive enough,” Elleby said. “We just didn’t have the same energy we did in the first half.”

WSU managed to contain its turnovers to five, further keeping the team among the best in the nation at taking care of the ball. Sophomore forward Aljaz Kunc applauded this stat but said he thinks the team needs to get better defensively.

“We’re going to have to play more defense and go hard in practice these next few days,” Kunc said.

WSU is traveling to the Cayman Islands Classic to face Nebraska University in the first round. The game will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in the John Gray High School gymnasium in George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.