Wildcats outmatch Cougars

Men’s basketball face lowest scoring loss of season, Elleby shoots 2-for-12


Sophomore forward CJ Elleby drives past Arizona defense on Saturday at Beasley Coliseum.

The WSU men’s basketball team fell to the University of Arizona Wildcats 66-49 on Saturday at Beasley Coliseum.

WSU (13-10, 4-6) allowed 49 total rebounds from Arizona (15-6, 5-3); the last time WSU allowed over 50 rebounds was in 2016.

Junior guard Isaac Bonton lead WSU in scoring for the eighth time this season with 15 points. Sophomore forward CJ Elleby scored seven points on 2-for-12 shooting; his third time in single digits this season.

Arizona’s leading scorer was senior forward Stone Gettings with 19 points and 12 rebounds. This is the first time this season that Gettings has led the Wildcats in scoring.

Senior forward Jeff Pollard said the initial scouting report on the Wildcats did not cover Gettings as much as other Wildcat forward Zeke Nnaji.
“He found ways to attack the defense,” Pollard said. “He just took advantage of what we were giving him.”

After a scoreless two minutes and 19 seconds from both sides, Elleby scored two free throws to bring WSU its first points of the game. WSU’s first field goal came almost four minutes into the game with a low post shot from Pollard.

WSU shot 17 percent from the field in the first five minutes of the game. The Cougars went on a 11-2 run after this time frame and led the Wildcats 15-8 with 12:07 left.

During the following five minutes, Arizona went on a 10-0 run to give the Wildcats an 18-15 lead. Gettings recorded a double-double in points and rebounds with 6:03 left in the first half, 5 of his 10 rebounds were offensive.

WSU scored for the first time in over six minutes with 5:22 left on the clock after a layup underneath the basket from freshman center Volodymyr Markovetskyy. The Cougars scored again a minute later but allowed Arizona to score six more points. The Cougars trailed to the Wildcats 28-19 with 2:35 left.

At halftime, Arizona led 32-23 with Gettings leading the way for the Wildcats. WSU never trailed by double-digits throughout the first half. Arizona’s 27 rebounds in the first half is the most by any WSU opponent this season.

Arizona started the half by extending its lead to double-digits for the first time in the game. The Wildcats kept this double-digit lead for remainder of the game.

Junior forward Marvin Cannon checked into the game with 16:53 left in the game; the first game he’s played since WSU faced the University of the Incarnate Word last December. He scored less than 30 seconds into his shift with a single free throw.

Cannon said it felt good to play with his teammates once again, and he never thought that rehab could be as hard as it was for him.
“Even when I wasn’t playing, I just kept the energy on the sideline with my team practicing,” Cannon said. “Let them know that I’m still here, and I’m still engaged.”

Cannon said that he’s approaching 100 percent and looks for the upcoming week to recover further.

Bonton left the game with 12:21 left on the clock after a rough landing from a layup attempt. He proceeded to the injury tent for an apparent leg injury, and then moved to the locker room. He returned to play with 9:22 left in the game.

Smith said Bonton’s injury does not seem to be anything major.
“Hopefully, it’s nothing,” Smith said. “He’s playing a lot of major minutes.”

Bonton scored WSU’s second 3-pointer of the game with 7:39 left on the clock and shortened the Arizona lead to 55-40. Junior forward Daron Henson checked into the game shortly after and scored WSU’s third 3-pointer with 5:32 left in the game.

WSU did not make another 3-pointer for the remainder of the game. The three total 3-pointers from WSU ties its season low.

Arizona finished the game with a 66-49 victory over WSU. This is the lowest point total from WSU all season, and the lowest point total since February 2017.

WSU recorded a single steal on the night; the first time since facing Omaha back in November. Smith said one of the main factors to this stat was Elleby’s health coming into the game.

“CJ’s usually a disruptor, and I really think he’s under the weather,” Smith said.

WSU has a week to recover from its loss to Arizona, as the Cougars face the University of Washington Huskies on Sunday. Smith said the team’s main focus for the game is to get healthier as a whole.

Despite WSU and UW’s historic rivalry, Cannon and Pollard both said the team will prepare for the matchup like any other game.
“You definitely look forward to it because it’s a rivalry game, but at the same time you have to keep an even head,” Pollard said. “Go into [the game] same scout, same defense, same routine and try not to get caught up in the hype.”

The Cougars will face their cross-state rival University of Washington Huskies Sunday at 3 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum.