Washington State visits Idaho on Thursday in Moscow in what will be the 114th straight year the schools will meet in the Battle of the Palouse, making it college basketball’s oldest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi River.
The Cougars (3-0) had little trouble in a 73-65 win against UC Santa Barbara on Monday, extending their nonconference winning streak to 16 games. Efe Abogidi had 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, eight rebounds and six blocks as the Cougars took a 41-25 halftime lead and never looked back.
“This was a really good test for us and we came out in the first half and played well and were really energized,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said. “When Efe’s energized and active, he’s really impressive.”
Noah Williams added 13 points, while Tyrell Roberts and Michael Flowers had 11 points each for the Cougars, who shot 28 of 61 (45.9 percent) from the field but struggled from 3-point range, going just 2 of 16.
Roberts is averaging a team-high 14.7 points, with Williams averaging 11.3 and Abogidi leading the team in rebounding with 5.7 a game.
Idaho (1-2) got off to a slow start and never recovered in a 69-62 loss at Fresno State on Monday. It was the team’s first road game after two inside its new ICCU Arena, as well as two exhibition games.
The Vandals trailed by five (31-26) at halftime against Fresno State and couldn’t make a second-half push to pull out the win.
“I love the fact that our guys competed throughout in spite of a couple of runs by them where it kind of knocked us on our heels,” Idaho coach Zac Claus said. “The guys did a really good job of rallying around one another and continuing to stick to what we were trying to accomplish.”
Trevante Anderson, who averaged a team-high 24 points in the Vandals’ first two games, was held to just four points on 0-for-10 shooting from the floor. Mikey Dixon scored a game-high 15 points, but he was the only Vandal who finished in double figures, as Philip Pepple Jr. added eight points and Yusef Salih came off the bench to score nine.
Fresno State outrebounded Idaho 41-22.
The Cougars have defeated the Vandals the past three years and in four of the past five meetings between schools located just 8 1/2 miles apart.
“It’s going to be a special night,” said Claus. “Our guys will look forward to this challenge. It will make it an added bonus to be playing inside the ICCU Arena with the electricity that has already been in there for our initial games. I know that coach (Kyle) Smith will have his team dialed in and ready to go and I know our guys will be up for the challenge.”
Washington State started its nonconference winning streak with a victory at Idaho on Dec. 4, 2019.
–Field Level Media