Kent searches for air after desert drubbing

WASHINGTON STATE overcame a calamitous first-half scoring drought at Arizona State on Thursday to score 10-straight points to open the second half and pull within five of the Sun Devils. And then, “for whatever reason, our air went away from us,” said Cougar coach Ernie Kent.

The result was an 84-73 loss that dropped the Cougars to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-12 with No. 18/16 Arizona on tap Saturday in Tucson (6:30 pm PT/Pac-12 Networks). The win marked ASU coach Bobby Hurley's first in the Pac-12. The Devils are now 11-6/1-3.

“We had the ability to take control of the game,” Kent said of the Cougars’ hot start to the second half, when they charged to within 40-35 on an Ike Iroegbu jumper with 17:29 left.

But the second-year head man was left searching for answers because as quickly as his team stormed back into contention after the miserable first half they fell back out as the Devils proceeded to go on an 8-0 run and never look back.

Bottom line, Kent said “we didn't play the way we were capable of.”

Indeed, in the first half the Cougars shot a woeful 9 of 26 (34.6 percent) from the field, compared with their season average of 48 percent. The badinage included an eight minute, 24 second stretch in which they were 0 for 10 from the field, committed 7 fouls — including Josh Hawkinson’s second and third of the game — and turned the ball over 4 times.

So a 13-10 WSU lead with 13:52 to play in the half devolved into a 27-13 deficit before Derrien King stopped the blood-letting with two free throws with 5:29 left to play before intermission.

Despite the foul trouble early, Hawkinson still managed to post his 11th-straight double-double, scoring 15 points on 4 of 11 shooting from the field and pulling down 12 rebounds.

Ireogbu led the Cougs in scoring, with 18 points on 7 of 11 accuracy from the field, and in assists, with 5.

Two silver linings for WSU were the unexpected production of King, a JC transfer, and Robert Franks, a true freshman who had yet to play in a Pac-12 game.

King came off the bench to score 11 points, grab 3 rebounds, dish 3 assists and snare 1 steal in 26 minutes of action. Franks, meanwhile, came off the bench to score 11 (4 for 8 from the field) and pull down 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.


  • NFL star and ASU grad Terrell Suggs was at courtside to see his cousin, Renard Suggs, play for the Cougs. Suggs had 2 rebounds, 2 assists and no points in 12 minutes of action.

  • Senior Brett Boese started his first game of the season and second of his WSU career. He was 1 for 1 from the field — a three-pointer — and played 7 minutes.

  • The Cougars held a 37-18 edge in points scored in the paint, but the Devils led in points off the fast break, 13-2.

  • ASU had four players in double figures, with Tra Holder leading the way with 20.

  • WSU is 0-6 this season when trailing at the half.

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