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WSU’s Ernie Kent: We laid a big egg

WASHINGTON STATE managed a season-low 21 points in the first half at Utah. An even bigger storyline was that all 40 of Utah’s first half points came from its forwards. With Utah crashing the paint with impunity, and the Cougs struggling to find space to shoot, Washington State suffered its worst loss of the season, 88-47. Ernie Kent spoke for less than three minutes on the postgame radio show.

“I don’t think we can get any worse than where we are right now,” Kent said.

Fans of Cougar basketball better hope not.  Utah (19-7, 8-5) outscored Washington State (9-16, 1-12) in the paint by a staggering 50-10 margin. Center Valentine Izundu headed to the bench early after picking up his second foul just three minutes into the game. He played only 17 minutes.

WSU committed 20 turnovers, 10 in each half on the way to scoring its fewest points of the season.

The Cougs made only seven buckets in the game’s first 20 minutes. Trailing by 19 points at the break, WSU was outscored 48-26 in the second half.  Guard Que Johnson led WSU in scoring with 13 points.  Forward Josh Hawkinson tied his season low with 4 points and did not score in the first half.

“Obviously, we laid a big egg here and didn’t play well in, I don’t think, any facets of the game… When you have a team that has a total collapse like that (the) mental grind of it all kind of got to these kids a little bit,” said Kent.

WSU has lost 11 straight. Kent said his message to the Cougar players would continue to be of a positive nature.

“This was just a total, total, total mental collapse in this game and it’s not about beating up young people -- we know where we’re at right now," said Kent. "...Let’s see how many more of these games we can grind out, try to get a W or two here as we close out the season."

After a loss like this one, Kent won't be going over the tape with the Cougar players.

“For me, I just throw it in the trash can and keep moving, get back to Pullman and regroup,” said Kent. “...They (Utah) make you pay if you do not work and you do not understand the fundamentals of basketball.”

Next up: WSU returns home this week for their final home stand of the season. The Cougs host Stanford on Thursday at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Network).  Cal will be in town Sunday for a 5:30 p.m. tip on ESPN U.

NOTABLE NOTES:
--True freshman forward Robert Franks finished with 10 points. Another true freshman, guard Viont'e Daniels, played 19 minutes and finished with 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.

--Starting shooting guard Ike Iroegbu finished with 3 points on 1 of 8 shooting. Ny Redding got the start at the point after a solid game at Colorado but had two turnovers on soft passes early. Redding did not attempt a shot in the game, finishing with 1 point, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 4 turnovers in 25 minutes.

--The 41-point margin of defeat was the largest ever for WSU in the series with Utah, eclipsing the 91-56 loss from 1955.

--WSU is 0-15 this season when trailing at the half.

--The last time the Cougs lost 11 straight was back in 2002-03 when they dropped 14 straight in Paul Graham's final season at WSU.


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