Cougars sweep series

Washington State used a 47-point second half to erase a five-point Washington advantage en route to a 77-64 win over the No. 16 Huskies with a record crowd watching at Friel Court Saturday afternoon, the largest crowd to witness a game in Pullman since 1996.

The almost entire crowd of 8770 fans were of the crimson persuasion, save the Washington (16-5, 5-5) fans located in the upper deck of Friel Court. They weren't happy with the way the first half went, but led by the 13-second half points and 12 rebounds of Aron Baynes, Washington State (10-9, 3-7) were able to outscore the Huskies by 18 the final 20 minutes to cruise to victory.

Coupled with their 78-71 win over the Huskies in Seattle, it's the first time Washington State has swept the season series since the 1993-94 season. And they used a very balanced scoring attack to do it, as five Cougars scored in double-digits. They were led by the 14 of sophomore guard Josh Akognon, 11 of those points coming out in the first half. The Huskies did a good job of neutralizing Akognon during the final half, but that's when Baynes came alive. Chris Matthews added 13 and Ivory Clark 10, six of those points coming of rim-ratting dunks that brought the partisan crowd on their feet.

Washington relied heavily on Brandon Roy to jump-start their offensive attack, and the senior from Seattle came through with 21 points and nine rebounds. Justin Dentmon bounced back from his last-second freshman gaffe at Stanford to provide the Huskies with 14 points. Bobby Jones added 10, but fouled out with just over five minutes in the game. And Jamaal Williams, normally responsible for 14 points per contest, had two in 19 minutes of play. I

"This may have been the poorest job of us trying to move the basketball all year," said Romar.

This game was most definitely a tale of two halves. Up five at the half, the Huskies came out flat and WSU immediately jumped on them with seven quick points - capped up with a Clark running one-hand slam. The Cougars, who were outrebounded 18-12 in the first half and 7-1 in offensive rebounds, reversed those numbers in a big way. They eventually won the battle of the boards 39-33.

Once the Cougars took the lead, they kept it for good - mainly due to a strong performance from the free-throw line. They went 18-20 from the charity stripe in the final 20 minutes, essentially warding off any second-half attempt by the Huskies to get close. Washington went 7-31 from the field in the second half, including missing 11 straight in a row and 3-17 from three-point line.

The game didn't start out like it was going to go well for the home team. The Huskies stayed with their gameplan of stifling defense and scrappy offense to earn a five-point advantage at intermission.

"After the first five minutes, I thought we played some inspired basketball," said Romar. But that did not carry over to the second half. As soon as the crowd was re-energized by the play of Baynes and the defense of the Cougars, the Huskies did something they haven't done in a while, and definitely didn't do in the first half. They panicked.

"Tonight, when the shots weren't going down, I think it got to us a little bit," said Romar. And now Washington stares conference mediocrity straight in the face: 5-5. And this loss means three-straight for a UW team that hasn't seen that happen to them since the infamous 0-5 conference start back in 2004. A conference championship is but a pipe dream now, and a berth in post-season play hangs precariously in the balance.
Points: Roy 21, Dentmon 14, Jones 10, Brockman 6, Appleby 6, Jensen 5, Williams 2
Rebounds: Roy 9, Brockman 6, TEAM 5, Dentmon 4, Jensen 3, Williams 2, Jones 1, Burmeister 1, Appleby 1, Gasser 1, Jensen 1
Assists: Appleby 4, Roy 2
Steals: Dentmon 3, Roy 2, Burmeister 2, Jones 1, Williams 1
Blocks: Burmeister 1 Top Stories