Tyrell Roberts, Washington State run away from Utah in second half to win 71-54
Tyrell Roberts scored all 15 of his points in the second half, Washington State controlled the glass and turned Utah over at a rate that’ll make any coach happy, and the Cougars ran away from the Utes to win 71-54 Wednesday night.
It was the first game back on the floor for Washington State (11-7, 4-3 Pac-12) since a Jan. 15 win over Cal. A trip to Oregon to face the Ducks and Beavers had to be postponed due to COVID issues, and Washington State looked understandably a little rusty to start things off against the Utes at home.
At least on the offensive end. Wazzu shot just 11-for-33 from the field and 4-for-16 from 3-point range over the first 20 minutes. Roberts was 0-for-6 with no points. Michael Flowers, the team’s leading scorer, was 1-for-6 with only three points. Things stayed pretty tight through the first 15 minutes.
But a little 8-1 run gave Washington State some air as the half drew to a close. The Cougars’ lead was 11 at one point late in the first half.
And it wasn’t like Utah was experiencing the same kind of cold shooting Washington State was; the Utes couldn’t get shots up period. Washington State, thanks to eight first-half offensive boards and 13 Utah turnovers, nearly doubled up on the Utes in shot attempts (33-17) over the first 20 minutes.
That continued into the second half. Washington State ended the game with an 18-6 edge on the offensive boards, a 39-29 advantage overall on the glass, and only 10 turnovers to Utah’s 19. The Cougars took 19 more shots than the Utes, who were slightly more efficient from the field and much better from 3.
And yet it was Washington State walking away with a 17-point win. In 64 possessions, Utah had a 30% turnover rate. Turnovers will kill you.
But Roberts is probably a wanted man in Salt Lake City after that second-half performance as well.
A triple from Utah’s Branden Carlson to open the second half was answered 15 seconds later by a 3 from Roberts. The two sides exchanged buckets until the 15:04 mark when, with the Cougars up 10, Roberts took over.
He hit a 3 coming out of the under-16 timeout to put the Cougars up 13, hit another triple 90 seconds later to push the lead to 18, then grabbed a defensive rebound on the next Utah possession and took it himself for another bucket in the lane to stretch the lead to 20 and force a Utah timeout.
Over the span of three minutes, the Cougars ripped off a 14-0 burst, opening up a 24-points lead. Utah never got closer than 13 the rest of the way. An 8-0 spurt from the Utes was matched by a pair of Roberts free throws with under two minutes to play that drained some of the Utah momentum away.
Utah was led by 11 points from Lazar Stefanovic, who hit two of his three triples and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Carlson, in his first game back after missing the Utes’ previous five contests, had eight points and a block in 19 minutes off the bench.
In addition to the 15 points Washington State got from Roberts—who was 5-for-9 from the field in the second half—got 15 points and eight boards from Andrej Jakimovski. Noah Williams did a little of everything with 10 points, four boards, three steals, and two assists. TJ Bamba also added 10 points and four boards in 18 minutes off the bench. Though Flowers finished the game with just 5 points thanks to a miserable shooting night (1-10 FG, 1-8 3P), he was a game-high plus-24 in his 35 minutes on the court.
The Cougars are back in action on Sunday to take on Colorado. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. PT on FS1.
Utah will look to end a losing streak that now stands at nine games when it plays Washington in Seattle on Saturday at 2 p.m. PT. The Utes are just 8-13 on the season, at the bottom of the Pac-12 with a 1-10 record in league play.