Men’s basketball heads to Spokane

New Mexico State match to occur in northern city; Cougars look to improve on 4-4 record



Senior guard Jervae Robinson dribbles against Omaha on Nov. 21 at Beasley Coliseum.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball faces the New Mexico State University Aggies at noon on Saturday at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington.

Last Wednesday, WSU (4-4, 0-0) defeated the University of Idaho Vandals 78-65 in their 275th matchup. Junior forward Tony Miller, and three other Cougars, each scored in double digits, Miller leads the team in scoring with a career-high 18 points.

Freshman guard Noah Williams said Miller’s performance rebounding the ball steered the team in the direction to win.

“He’s a beast down there. He’s a big body,” Williams said. “If he keeps on doing that, we can do big things.”

Senior guard Jaylen Shead said the team focused on closing out games this week in practice after their performance in the Cayman Islands, and this was a turning point for the team’s mentality.

“It’s not that we’re a bad team,” Shead said. “We have to be better throughout the game.”

WSU’s leading scorer sophomore forward CJ Elleby scored 10 points against Idaho shooting 25 percent. Junior guard Isaac Bonton did not play against Idaho; Smith said his return is questionable against New Mexico State (5-4, 0-0).

“I hope so,” Smith said. “It would be good to have another bullet in the chamber.”

New Mexico State competed in the 2019 Cayman Island Classic alongside WSU this Thanksgiving. The Aggies placed second after losing in the final round to North Mason University 68-64. They have not won a regular-season away game yet this year, which does not include neutral sites.

The Aggies have won the Western Athletic Conference championship in seven of their last eight seasons and narrowly lost to No. 5 Auburn in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. Smith said he expects a serious challenge from New Mexico State.

“It’s a program that’s really good and used to winning,” Smith said. “They’ll play hard; they have good players.”

Tip-off will be at noon this Saturday in the Spokane Arena and can be viewed on the Pac-12 Networks. WSU students with a sports pass can attend the game for free with their Cougar Card present.