CHILDREN AND ADULTS of all ages might light up when told the circus is coming to town but don't count Dick Bennett among them. Lose the circus shots and play both ends of the half court, the Cougar head man told the troops at halftime. Staked by Ivory Clark's opening burst and the second-half scoring and rebounding of Aron Baynes, WSU rallied past Washington with a 77-64 victory Saturday to sweep the Dawgs before a raucous throng of crimson partisans.

Coming out of the locker room, Washington State blew the doors off Beasley with an 11-0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Turning up the defensive screws in the second half, Aron Baynes and Ivory Clark led the renaissance. Clark keyed the opening run, turning a five point deficit into a six point cushion. The 6-foot-5 forward tossed down two rim rattling dunks, blocked two shots, grabbed a rebound and grabbed a steal in the first five minutes of the second period.

Baynes, the freshman Aussie, scored 13 second-half points and pulled down a career high 12 rebounds with 10 of them coming in the second half. Baynes appears to be coming into his own. A week ago in a narrow loss to Cal he paced the Cougars with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars kept the foot on the gas, outscoring the Huskies by 18 points over the final 20 minutes to cruise to victory.

"Aron Baynes' presence was the single biggest factor in the second half," Bennett said. "Baynes was our steady rebounder and I though Ivory gave us steady defense."

WASHINGTON STATE HAD lost six straight since beating the Huskies a month ago, falling just short on a number of occasions. The Cougs broke through Saturday using a balanced scoring attack in dispatching Washington, with five Cougars scoring in double-digits. WSU is now 10-9 overall and 3-7 in the Pac-10, while Washington fell to 16-5 and 5-5.

Guard Chris Matthews made his first career start Saturday, the freshman catching the eye of Bennett the past few weeks. Logging 27 minutes, Matthews scored 13 points including a pair of treys. The freshman out of Luther Christian Academy in Washington D.C., also contributed two rebounds, two assists and one steal. It is the eighth different starting lineup in eight games since Derrick Low broke his foot.

Josh Akognon led all Cougar scorers with 14 points, 11 of them coming in the first half that were crucial in keeping Washington State close. Six-foot-10 Robbie Cowgill added 10 points and 4 boards, as the Cougs went inside over the final 20 minutes. Kyle Weaver had a strong all around game, adding seven points, four assists, four rebounds, a block and a steal.

THERE WAS A stretch late in the first half, one that provided a microcosm of the six game slide that WSU entered Beasley with on Saturday. Nothing was working offensively against the UW. Worse, the Huskies went on a 17-2 run, threatening to blow open the game by halftime, scoring far too easily against what was no longer a smothering defense, the trademark of Dick Bennett teams.

But Washington State, trailing by 11, began to find their stride in the final minutes of the opening half, closing the gap to five as the buzzer sounded. Clark and crew came out firing in the second half and at the 15:00 minute mark with WSU up by six, Washington never got closer than three points.

  • Washington State out rebounded Washington 39-33. The Cougs also held Washington to just 32.2 percent shooting from the floor, including a 23 percent mark in the second half.

  • The Cougs shot 48 percent from the floor, and 86 percent (24-28) from the charity stripe. WSU was 18-20 in the second half from the free throw line.

  • In 11 minutes, senior guard Randy Green scored six points and pulled down three rebounds.

  • The Cougs induced both Bobby Jones and Jon Brockman to foul out. Aron Baynes fouled out with 1:00 left in the game and the Cougs leading by double digits.

  • Washington State should get a boost soon with starting point guard Derrick Low's expected return the week after this one. The sophomore is a long shot to play this week against UCLA and USC, although it remains a slight possibility he could return early.

  • Coupled with their 78-71 win over the Huskies in Seattle, it's the first time Washington State has swept the season series since 1993-94.

  • With the victory, Washington State earned its first home-and-home sweep of Washington -- in basketball and in football in the same calendar year since 1994, in the same school year since 1968-69.

  • Clark tied his season and career-high with three blocks against Washington.

  • Cougfan Top Stories