The Cougars trailed by as many as ten points early in the second half until sophomore forward DJ Rodman found his rhythm.
Rodman has been averaging just four points per game on the season and failed to score in the first half against Oregon State, but in the second half he set his career high for points in a game when the Cougars needed it the most.
WSU had 36 points in the second half and 13 of them belonged to Rodman. He shot 5-for-6 from the field in the half including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He was the spark that got the Cougars over the hump and back into position to win the game.
The Cougars ended up defeating the Beavers 59-55 to open conference play with a win and move to 3-0.
WSU had four players score in double-digits as senior point guard Isaac Bonton finished with 15, Rodman 13, sophomore guard Noah Williams 12, and junior forward Aljaz Kunc had 12 as well.
Although Bonton led the Cougars in scoring, he once again struggled to dial in his jump-shot. Bonton shot 3-of-16 from the field moving him to 14-of-59 on the season. That’s 23.7 percent.
On the plus side for Bonton, he did a great job creating for his teammates tonight. He finished with seven assists while only turning the ball over twice. He controlled the tempo of the offense and kept things in motion for the Cougars.
Freshman center Efe Abogidi continues to shine for WSU on the defensive side of the ball. Abogidi had three block and two steals for the Cougars tonight including a monster block late in the second half to help secure the victory.
Even though the Cougar offense didn’t shoot particularly well, the defense made up for it once again. The defense held the Beavers to 21-of-59 from the field and 7-of-25 from three.
The Cougar defense had nine steals with three of them coming from Bonton and Kunc, and two of them coming from Abogidi.
It was another tight game for WSU as they’ve now won three games with a total margin of 11. Once again, the performance wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to get the job done.
Although this type of performance won’t compete with the top of the Pac-12, at least the Cougars are learning how to win close games.
The Cougars play in Colorado against the Buffaloes on Saturday in what will be a better test to see where this WSU team is really at.
The game is at 1 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
(Photos by: Bob Hubner – WSU Athletics)