Faisal Aden scored 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting to lead Washington State (2-1) over Portland (2-2).
Brock Motum added 13 points and DaVonte Lacy 11 for Washington State. Kevin Bailey led Portland with 14 points.
Reggie Moore logged eight assists, six points and six rebounds before fouling out. One of Moore's best plays came with under three minutes to go, when he worked the shot clock down before finding an open Lacy who canned a 12-foot jumper to push the lead back into double digits.
The Cougars had 17 turnovers but led most of the way. Portland's only lead came midway through the first half, but it was erased 30 seconds later on a layup by Motum.
Washington State made a 15-4 run, including 11 points by Aden, to take a 32-21 lead with six minutes left in the first half.
Portland managed to trim the Cougars' lead to 43-38 early in the second half, but Washington State answered with a 15-5 run to push its advantage to 58-43. The Cougars then maintained a double-digit lead for most of the remainder of the game.
Washington State remains challenged on the boards – they were outrebounded 39-28 and surrendered an eye-popping 16 boards on the offensive end while gaining only four offensive rebounds of their own. But the Cougars shot 56 percent from the field to Portland's 40 percent.
Moore and Aden led the Cougs in rebounds, with six and five, respectively.
WSU coach Ken Bone said the Cougs are decidedly still a work in progress here in mid-November.
"It was scrappy, it was ugly at times. But that's what's going to happen right now," said Bone in a postgame radio interview.
The Cougs were susceptible to the trap early out of their motion offense, but adjusted well after seeing it for the first time this season, said Bone.
"It's definitely a concern but as many misses as they had, they should have had a lot of offensive rebounds," said Bone of the 16 offensive boards the Cougs allowed.
WSU next plays in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, meeting up with Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day (ESPN2: 8:30 p.m.) followed by a Friday tilt vs. either New Mexico or Santa Clara. The Friday game will either be on ESPN2 or ESPNU, and could tip at either 6:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m.
HOOPS: Aden's 21 helps ground Pilots
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