Washington State edges Utah Valley 83-76
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) It came down to a one-point game with 1:06 seconds left but two free throws apiece from Josh Hawkinson and Charles Callison lifted Washington State over Utah Valley 83-76 Wednesday night.
After Washington State (3-4) stretched its lead to 19 points early in the second half, the Wolverines (4-2) closed the gap by capitalizing on the Cougars' mistakes.
Brandon Randolph had a dunk to pull Utah Valley to 77-76 with just over a minute left. But Hawkinson answered on the other end and after Utah Valley missed two 3s, Callison hit two free throws with 24 seconds left for a four-point lead.
''I thought we were superb in the first half. The second half, it shows you how good they were because as soon as we had that slippage, they made us pay in the game,'' Washington State coach Ernie Kent said. ''I'm proud of this team. In the last four or five minutes they did everything right.''
Washington State was led freshman guard Malachi Flynn, who scored a season-best 27 points and had seven rebounds and three assists. Kent said Flynn's performance is a testament to how special he is as a player.
''You always dream of doing good,'' Flynn said. ''It was just trying to come out be aggressive and wait for my shots. Tonight, they fell down.''
Flynn shot 11 of 14 from the field and 2 of 3 from the arc.
Kenneth Ogbe led the Wolverines in scoring with 20 points, followed by Isaac Neilson with 18 points. The Wolverines finished shooting 37 percent from the field and 31 percent from the arc.
Utah Valley coach Mark Pope said the Cougars slowed them down and prevented them from sharing the ball like they usually do, disrupting the offense especially in the first half.
''The way we play is a dynamic, fluid way. It's a rhythm, it's a feel. Sometimes it can be elusive,'' Pope said. ''Right now, with these new guys, it kind of comes and goes on us. And as we grow we will be able to play more minutes the right way.''
The Wolverines have three true freshmen, and three players with only one previous season of experience. Pope said that the youth of the team also factored in to their inability to outlast the hype of the team's win over BYU last Saturday.
''It is hard to bury emotional games like that and as a coaching staff that is our job to help our guys do that and we didn't do that very well.''
Hawkinson had his 45th career double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds to help the Cougars snap a two-game losing streak.
Washington State: After falling to San Jose State on Sunday, the Cougars gained back some momentum against Utah Valley as they enter the last stretch before conference play. The Cougars finished last in the Pac-12 last season, and have yet to find sustainable momentum this season.
Utah Valley: The Wolverines will return to their home court on Sunday to face UTSA, ending their three-game road trip that included a big win against BYU.
Washington State hosts New Orleans on Sunday. The Cougars have four games remaining before conference play.
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|Min. Per Game|
|Pts. Per Game|
|Ast. Per Game|
|Reb. Per Game|
|Field Goal %|
|Three Point %|
|Free Throw %|
|Field Goals||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|
|3-Pointers||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|
|Free Throws||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|