SEATTLE (AP) — A year ago, Noah Williams strutted around on Washington’s home court yelling “this is my city,” after winning in his hometown for the first time.
There was no crowd for Williams to talk to on Sunday night. But the result was the same: another Washington State victory over its rival.
“I feel like we’re unbeatable against the (Huskies),” Williams said. “We got the secret formula.”
Isaac Bonton scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, Williams added 21 points, and Washington State snapped its six-game losing streak with a 77-62 win over rival Washington on Sunday night.
A miserable January ended on the upswing for the Cougars (10-7, 3-7 Pac-12) on the final night, thanks to a big contribution from Efe Abogidi on the interior in the first half and some key outside shooting in the final 20 minutes to pull away from the Huskies.
“It’s always great to get a win, especially when you’ve got a (losing) streak going on,” Bonton said. “We’ve gotten tested a lot of ways mentally so it’s good to get back on the other side.”
Bonton missed last Monday’s loss at Colorado, but was fully healthy to torment the Huskies, especially in the second half. Whether it was getting into the lane and scoring or hitting some important shots from deep, Bonton was terrific at the offensive end.
Bonton added seven rebounds and four assists.
Abogidi’s first half was just as important for the Cougars. With nothing falling from the perimeter, Abogidi had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half to set the tone for the Cougars. He finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“When he’s wound up and playing hard good things happen,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said.
Quade Green led Washington (3-12, 2-8) with 20 points and Erik Stevenson added 13. The Huskies swept Colorado and Utah last week for their first Pac-12 victories of the season.
“Tonight we didn’t play as hard as our opponent and we didn’t play as together as we need to play. That’s just the bottom line, and it’s frustrating,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “It’s just frustrating when you go out, regardless if it’s a rival or whoever you play, you have to go and play with your heart on your sleeve. And then you got to play for your teammates. And I did not see a lot of that tonight.”
Thanks to Abogidi’s presence on the inside, the Cougars led 38-29 at halftime, with 26 of those points coming in the paint.
Washington could never get enough stops or hit enough open looks to make the Cougars nervous in the second half. Washington State scored 11 of the first 14 points to start the half, capped by consecutive 3s by Bonton and Williams, the first makes from deep for the Cougars.
Bonton later hit an open 3 at the top of the key and followed with a three-point play to give the Cougars a 58-38 lead with 10:47 left. Washington never pulled closer than 15 the rest of the way.
“Especially playing in Seattle, you just get your flavor back when you come back home,” Williams said. “Played on these hoops all your life, grew up in this gym, so is it just a good feeling.”
Washington State: The Cougars have work to do against the rest of the conference, but Kyle Smith has figured out the Northwest schools. In his two seasons, the Cougars are 6-0 against Washington and the two Oregon schools. Against all teams from the Northwest — schools from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana — the Cougars are now 13-0 in Smith’s two seasons.
Washington: Jamal Bey was invisible for the Huskies. After scoring a career-high 28 in the Huskies last game against Utah, Bey could not get into the flow offensively and finished with nine points.
Washington State: The Cougars are on the road to face Oregon on Thursday.
Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon State on Thursday.