USATodaySports/Camporeale

Cougar Hoops: Kent asks Hawkinson, Iroegbu to carry WSU to win; seniors respond with monster games

ERNIE KENT before Sunday’s game at Arizona State asked Josh Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu to carry Washington State to victory. The two Cougar seniors responded, and how, with a pair of monster games in the Cougs’ 91-83 win in Tempe.

Iroegbu had a double-double and came within spitting distance of a triple-double. The Cougar senior guard scored 22 points, yes, but what was most impressive: a season-high 10 assists against only one turnover.  He also pulled down seven boards.

All Hawkinson did was record a new career high -- 31 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the floor.  He pulled down 10 boards.

“’I need you to carry us.’ Both Josh and Ike, I had that conversation (with them). And I thought they both stepped up and carried us big time … it’s the best I’ve seen them since I’ve been here,” Kent told Matt Chazanow on the Cougar Radio Network after the game.

Washington State was looking to run, run, run on Sunday against ASU and the focal point was Iroegbu. Time and again, the accelerated pace paid off -- WSU outscored ASU 22-6 in fast break points.

“The running game gives you that higher shooting percentage because you can get wide open looks,” said Kent.

WSU shot a sterling 52.6 percent both from the floor and 3-point land.  The Cougs also won the battle in the paint, 38-30.

With senior big Conor Clifford playing only 11 minutes and saddled with four fouls, true freshman forward Jeff Pollard delivered 7 points and 6 rebounds in 17 critical minutes.  Charles Callison chipped in 11, Malachi Flynn added 9 and Robert Franks scored six points on 3 of 4 shooting.

Combined, Hawkinson and Iroegbu were 18 of 22 from the line.

Washington State improved to 11-10, 4-5 in Pac-12 play.  ASU fell to 10-12, 3-6.

NEXT UP: WSU hosts No. 7/8 UCLA on Wednesday (6pm, Pac-12 Network).


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