‘We got those apples’

The men’s basketball team wins against the University of Washington for the first time in three years on Sunday afternoon.



Sphomore forward CJ Elleby attempts a jumping layup during the basketball game against UW on Sunday evening at Beasley coliseum. Elleby, who recorded a career high of 34 points, led the Cougars to a 79-67 victory over the Huskies.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

The WSU men’s basketball team defeated the University of Washington Huskies 79-67 to win the first leg of the 2020 Boeing Apple Cup Series.

This is WSU’s (14-10, 5-6) first win over UW (12-12, 2-9) at home since the 2016-17 season.

Sophomore forward CJ Elleby led the Cougars with 34 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. This is the first time Elleby scored over 30 points in his WSU career. Previously, he tied his high of 27 points four separate times this season.

The amount of points he scored did not have the same meaning to him that winning against the Huskies did, Elleby said.

“If we would’ve lost tonight and I had the same amount of points, I’d be pretty upset,” Elleby said. “But we got the win and that’s what matters. We protect the house.”

Junior guard Isaac Bonton added 12 points of his own while shooting six of six from the free throw line. This extends Bonton’s streak of consecutive double-digit scoring performances to 13 straight games. He remains the only player for WSU to score double-digit points in every conference game this season.

A bank shot 3-pointer from senior guard Jervae Robinson was the first points for WSU as the Beasley crowd blew up with cheer. Freshman guard Noah Williams led the way by scoring six of the first 14 points for WSU.

The Huskies gained an 8-7 lead after three minutes into the game. WSU took the lead back less than a minute later.

Junior forward Tony Miller checked in for WSU with 12:14 left on the clock. Miller came back from an injury he endured earlier this season; he had not played since WSU’s matchup against University of California, Berkeley. Miller played three minutes against the Huskies.

Head coach Kyle Smith said Miller is progressing toward making a full comeback in the near future. Smith said he is trying to bring back Miller and junior forward Marvin Cannon one at a time.

“There’s a chemistry in the game and when you bring guys back, it’s tough,” Smith said.

When WSU led 21-11, UW went on a 9-0 run that lasted five and a half minutes while the Cougars missed 11 straight shots. Elleby ended the Cougars scoring drought with back-to-back free throws with 6:56 left in the half.

UW took a 26-25 lead for the team’s second lead of the game with 5:20 left on the clock. WSU responded quickly with another bank shot 3-pointer, this time from junior forward Daron Henson.

Both teams kept it close at the end of the half with six lead changes throughout the half. WSU lead 38-33 at halftime as Elleby led the Cougars with 18 points.

Former WSU basketball head coach George Raveling was honored by WSU Athletics with a personalized banner that went up into the Beasley rafters. After a heartfelt speech, he instructed the Cougars and the Beasley crowd to beat the Huskies.

Raveling said his courtside seat at the game felt somewhat nostalgic after being a coach for WSU for 11 years.

“Whenever I watch a basketball game, I watch it as a coach. I never watch it as a fan,” Raveling said. “I think they are doing a great job.”

Both teams came out hustling in the second half as there were six lead changes in the first four and a half minutes. The sixth lead change was in the Cougars’ favor, as their lead grew and grew after this point.

Elleby made his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 13:29 left on the clock, this marked a new season high in individual threes from any Cougar this year. This 3-pointer was part of a 7-0 run from WSU that lasted a little over a minute. Elleby had six total 3-pointers at the end of the game.

“Every time I took a shot, it did feel good,” Elleby said.

Another 7-0 run came from WSU two minutes later with the seventh point coming off a Williams dunk on the fast break. This extended WSU’s lead to 60-50, the first double-digit lead from either side throughout the game.

An aggressive UW block on an attempted dunk from Williams gave the Huskies motivation for a comeback attempt in the final minutes of the game. Raveling rose from his courtside seat in the final five minutes and motivated the WSU fans to root against the rallying Huskies.

Washington chipped away at WSU’s lead and brought the score to 69-65 with a little over two minutes remaining. With the Huskies defending him, a layup from Elleby brought the score to 71-65 and shortly after the clock trickled down to 1:09.

A hard UW foul on a Bonton layup attempt led the officials to review the call for a flagrant. The play was ruled a shooting foul; Bonton made both of his free throws.

After six following made free throws from WSU, the Cougars defeated UW 79-67 as the clock hit zero.

Senior forward Jeff Pollard totaled 10 rebounds for WSU and outrebounded UW freshman forward Isaiah Stewart by three rebounds. Pollard said he took a little more pride in playing his heart out against the Huskies in his last UW home matchup.

“Last home game against U-dub, you got to go out with a bang,” Pollard said.

Earlier in the week, Smith said this game against the Huskies was “all about the apples.” Smith said the team is happy with the win but is focused on repeating its success in the future rematch in Seattle.

“We got the apples,” Smith said. “Got them for now; let’s see if we can get them again.”

WSU will go the road to face the UCLA Bruins at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.