It seemed almost scripted that CJ Elleby would make his triumphant return to the 206 in an eye popping fashion. Leading the entire floor with 26 points and 10 rebounds on 62 percent shooting, the former Cleveland High School Eagle was the night’s premier talent.
The narrative wouldn’t hold true for the name written across the front of his jersey however, as Washington State (7-7, 0-1) fell at the hands of their in-state rival Washington (10-4, 1-0) by a final 85-67 score.
The true freshman’s outing wasn’t flashy or showboated; Cougar faithful should know by now that’s just not his style. Even looking back to his high school highlight tape, one would find a technically sound player who laces up his sneakers for all the right reasons.
A proper introduction to the league, Elleby opened his first Pac-12 contest with all pistons firing. In fact, he and Jervae Robinson rained a tandem of treys en route to a brief 46-45 lead. It didn’t last long though as the remaining 17 minutes of play leaned in favor of the home team and their three double-digit scorers.
For the sake of Washington State’s future, it’s encouraging to see Elleby prove himself as a player that can rise to the occasions in the absence of senior Robert Franks. The standout forward led the Pac-12 in scoring for much of the preseason before suffering a hip injury preceding Washington State’s matchup with Santa Clara.
In Franks absence, Elleby has averaged a stat line of 22.5 points and 9 rebounds. His total numbers on the year now measure out to 15.6 points and 7.5 boards.
But with an increasing amount of responsibility, it’s important to keep an eye on his playtime. Elleby has rested a total of 5 minutes over the past two games.
Jervae Robinson ended the night as the only other Cougar in double digits with 14 bench points. Just behind him was Marvin Cannon and Carter Skaggs who each had 9.
Washington State is yet to win a ballgame not played in Beasley Coliseum after dropping their fourth in a row. WSU moves to 0-1 in conference play and 7-7 overall. The Cougs travel to Colorado Thursday for a date with the Buffalo (9-5, 0-2).
Related: CJ Elleby: The 206 Warrior