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No. 22 Washington State rolls past Stanford 79-62 in Pac-12 quarterfinal

Cougars closer to their first Pac-12 tourney final; Cardinal announce they fired coach

By MARK ANDERSON, AP Sports Writer
Published: March 14, 2024, 8:38pm

LAS VEGAS — Washington State is on the verge of going somewhere it has never been, and the Cougars can do it in the final year of the current version of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Isaac Jones scored 16 points, and No. 22 Washington State beat Stanford 79-62 in the Pac-12 quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The Cougars had six players score in double figures and shot 50.8% (31 for 61) from the field. Myles Rice and Jaylen Wells each scored 14, and Andrej Jakimovski had 13.

Washington State has never played in the conference championship, and it is one win away.

“There will be a laundry list of accomplishments this team has had,” said Washington State’s Kyle Smith, the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. “Getting to the finals would be great. Obviously, our goal is to win it.”

Next up for the second-seeded Cougars (24-8) is Friday’s semifinal against third-seeded Colorado (23-9), which advanced with a 72-58 victory over Utah. This is just their fourth trip to the semis and first since 2008.

Stanford, which was seeded 10th, finished the season with a 14-18 record. The school announced after the game that it had fired coach Jerod Haase.

“I think I’m going to look back as a whole and be very proud of the things I’ve done,” said Haase, who choked up several times in speaking as his players watched in the interview room. “I also know I have a next chapter and hopefully many next chapters in my book.”

Kymany Houinsou scored 11 points for Washington State, and fellow reserve Rueben Chinyelu had 10.

“We’re an unselfish group,” said Rice, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. “We love to see the next person win. We had 18 assists. It’s been a long time since we’ve been (that high) in that category, but it was a great atmosphere for us to share the ball and get everybody going.”

The Cougars last had that many assists Dec. 10 against Grambling when they totaled 20 for the second game in a row.

Washington State also outplayed the Cardinal inside, outrebounding them 39-25 and outscoring them in the lane 42-34.

Spencer Jones led Stanford with 22 points, and Brandon Angel had 15.

Washington State used a 13-3 run late in the first half to go ahead 37-22, and it was never seriously challenged after that. The Cardinal — who rallied from 18 points behind to beat California on Wednesday — closed to 60-46 with a 12-2 second-half spurt.

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But then Smith called timeout, and Rice responded with a steal and flying dunk to put the momentum back in Washington State’s favor.

“I think the main message in our huddle was to stay within ourselves,” Rice said. “We’ve obviously gave up a run, but we didn’t want to let it be bigger than what it was. Once we came out of the huddle, we hunkered down and got the stop we need to get. I think the dunk gave us a little more juice, but my teammates were playing great defense and I was able to get the steal.”

Washington State and Oregon State will continue to play as Pac-12 teams next season, with the other 10 members heading to different leagues. Both schools, however, also will be aligned with the West Coast Conference, which will bring both back to Las Vegas for that league’s tournament.

But that’s for the future.

The Cougars have an exciting present and some possible school history to make.

“We’re happy to get this one done, but we have another one (Friday) night,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we’ll come out with the same energy and effort.”

————

WASHINGTON STATE 79, STANFORD 62

STANFORD (14-18) — Angel 7-11 1-4 15, S.Jones 8-12 1-4 22, Raynaud 2-5 1-2 5, Carlyle 1-6 2-2 4, M.Jones 4-11 1-2 9, Gealer 0-1 0-0 0, Keefe 2-3 0-0 4, Murrell 0-0 0-0 0, Stojakovic 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 25-54 6-14 62.

WASHINGTON ST. (24-8) — Jakimovski 4-9 2-2 13, I.Jones 7-12 2-2 16, Wells 5-12 0-1 14, Cluff 0-2 1-2 1, Rice 6-13 2-2 14, Houinsou 5-7 1-3 11, Chinyelu 4-4 2-2 10, Watts 0-2 0-0 0, Mullins 0-0 0-0 0, Olesen 0-0 0-0 0, Rohosy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-61 10-14 79.

Halftime—Washington St. 45-29. 3-Point Goals—Stanford 6-21 (S.Jones 5-6, Stojakovic 1-2, Gealer 0-1, Raynaud 0-2, Angel 0-3, Carlyle 0-3, M.Jones 0-4), Washington St. 7-22 (Wells 4-7, Jakimovski 3-8, Houinsou 0-1, Watts 0-2, Rice 0-4). Rebounds—Stanford 22 (Angel 6), Washington St. 33 (Jakimovski, I.Jones, Wells, Rice 6). Assists—Stanford 13 (Angel 3), Washington St. 18 (Rice 6). Total Fouls—Stanford 12, Washington St. 14.

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