Cougars vandalize Idaho

WSU gets first win in Moscow since 2013, Miller leads in scoring

Sophomore+forward+CJ+Elleby+goes+up+for+two+against+Idaho+State+University+on+Nov.+17+at+Beasley+Coliseum.+The+Cougars+won+72-61%2C+and+Elleby+lead+the+team+with+23+points.

HSING-HAN CHEN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Sophomore forward CJ Elleby goes up for two against Idaho State University on Nov. 17 at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars won 72-61, and Elleby lead the team with 23 points.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

The Cougars men’s basketball team triumphed over the Idaho Vandals 78-65 in its annual battle for the Palouse.

Four different Cougars (4-4, 0-0) scored in double digits. This included junior forward and first-year Cougar Tony Miller, who leads the team in scoring coming off the bench with 18 points. This was a new career-high for him. Miller said chasing after loose balls and attacking on the fast break led to his success against Idaho (3-6, 0-0).

“He embodies everything we preach,” head coach Kyle Smith said. “He has a great attitude.”

This is the first game of the season that sophomore forward CJ Elleby did not lead the team in scoring. Elleby shot 25 percent from the field and finished the game with 10 points.

WSU’s nation-leading statistic was put into jeopardy early in the first half. The team reached eight turnovers in 11 minutes; WSU averaged eight turnovers per game coming into Moscow. The team finished with 16 total turnovers committed, a new season high.

Besides taking care of the ball, the Cougars lead most of the first half except for two times. The Cougars also held the Vandals’ leading scorer Trevon Allen to five points on 2-9 shooting in the first half.

Smith said this run from the Cougars came from freshman guard Noah Williams’ defensive performance. Williams finished the game with two steals and 12 points.

“I feel like I just played my game and let it come to me,” Williams said.

Senior guard Jervae Robinson was a bright spot for the Cougars early on but gradually slowed down as the game continued. He finished the game with 10 points, tying his season-high.

WSU lead at halftime 32-24 after outscoring the Vandals 17-8 in the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Cougars outrebounded the Vandals by almost double their total with 23 compared to 12.

The second half started with a 14-4 WSU run in the first four minutes. Smith said this was a definite turning point for the Cougars to cruise to a win.

Senior guard Jaylen Shead improved his three assists in the first half to a total of nine, a new season high for him. Shead said his performance was inspired by coach Smith’s challenge for him to take control of the team.

“I felt like I was more comfortable in my role,” Shead said. “He just told me to take control of the team and I tried my best to do that.”

The next game for WSU is against the New Mexico State Aggies at noon on Saturday in the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington. WSU students with a sports pass will be allowed to attend, and the game will air on the Pac-12 Network.