Kent: We should've dominated Cal in the paint

PULLMAN — After Washington State dominated California in the paint the last time the two teams played, Ernie Kent felt the ideal game plan against the Bears on Thursday would be a similar inside attack. The plan flopped, as the Golden Bears beat the Cougars 76-67 on the strength of a 32-20 advantage in the paint.

This didn't set well with Kent.

“When (David) Kravish has to guard Jordan (Railey) and the guy has 30 pounds on him and four inches that ball should have been there all night,” Kent said. “It went in there quite a bit, but we just didn’t get a lot done with it and that turned the tables on us.”

Railey, WSU's senior center, converted 2 of 7 inside finished with six points. The Cougars (9-11, 3-5) attacked the paint early, forcing Kravish to pick up three fouls in the first half.

The Golden Bears (12-9, 2-6) also took a big hit early on when sophomore guard Jordan Mathews pick up a personal and technical foul 57 seconds into the game. Mathews would play only four minutes in the first half.

Yet the Golden Bears were able to hang with the Cougars for most of the first half due to the performance of Tyrone Wallace. The sophomore guard hit 9 of 12 from the floor and scored 21 first-half points.

“We just didn’t have the help,” WSU senior guard DaVonte Lacy said. “Wallace was a great player and he got a lot of buckets in transition and we tried to challenge him to shoot a little bit and he made shots so I won’t take any credit away from him. He just had a really good game.”

The Cougars were able to contain Wallace for most of the second half, holding him to five points. Wallace finished with a game-high 26 points and seven rebounds.

“The game was different this time because Wallace, similar to (Washington's) Nigel-Williams Goss, completely put his pedal to the metal and dominated the speed and tempo of the game in the first half," Kent said. "His 21 points in the first half, I’ll tell you again, a lot of those are just transition buckets or transition fouls where he was beating our entire team down the floor.”

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Kent said. “He didn’t get them in the second half but the damage was done. The confidence had gotten into the game. They had control of the game. They had their courage, they had their energy, and they knew they could get after us and then they became a very dangerous team.”

Despite being a non-factor for most of the game, when the clock was winding down in the second half, Mathews caught fire. He scored his first point off a free throw with 3:13 left in the game to tie the game at 65.

Mathews scored nine of California's final 12 points. His biggest shot of the game came with a baseline 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining that gave Cal a 73-67 lead.

“That’s what good players do,” Lacy said. “Good players step up and make big plays. He did that, that was a huge shot.”

WSU sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson had a big game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. After hitting seven 3-pointers in non-conference play, Hawkinson has yet to hit a 3-pointer during Pac-12 play.

“I thought I was shooting a good percentage in non conference and you know coming into Pac-12 and struggling to find my range when I’m not there,” Hawkinson said. “So I notice I’ve been shorting a lot of them. My midrange had been looking good and it’s pretty consistent. So adjusting a little more legs from the three, but if I’m open I’m going to continue to shoot them because I can knock it down in practice.”

The Cougars play host to Stanford at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The game is televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

  • Starting lineup: Ny Redding, Ike Iroegbu, DaVonte Lacy, Josh Hawkinson, Jordan Railey.

  • A WSU student hit a half-court shot and walked away with $800 during a timeout.

  • Including Thursday's game, California leads the all time series at 76-49.

    After scoring 24 points, Lacy moved into 11th place on WSU’s all time scoring list, passing Joe Wallace.

  • Attendance was 2,957

  • Hawkinson earned his 12th double-double of the season.

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