It was billed as senior night and the intent and goal of the Fridays Nights season finale for the Huskies was simple. Gain some momentum by winning a second conference game while honoring Sam Timmins, Jason Crandall and Quin Barnard on the Huskies home season finale. Throw in the fact that the opponent was the Washington State Cougars who beat the Huskies earlier in Pullman what you had was a cross-state darby.
The Senior activities began with a lot on pomp and the Huskies played the part early in the contest but were unable to seal the deal as former Metro High School products CJ Elleby ( Cleveland) and Noah Dickerson ( Odea) stole the show.
CJ Elleby scored 21, Isaac Bonton scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and Washington State completed a season sweep of rival Washington with a 78-74 win on Friday night.
The Cougars (15-14, 6-10 Pac-12) swept the season series for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Washington State built a big halftime lead, watched Washington rally to take the lead midway through the second half before the Cougars rallied and held on in the closing minutes.
Bonton was the catalyst of Washington State’s decisive answer. He scored 15 points in the final 9-plus minutes, including eight of 11 points during in a 64-second span when the Cougars went from being down one to up 10.
Noah Williams added 15 points, including a pair of free throws with five seconds left that clinched the victory. Bonton slammed the ball on the giant “W” at midcourt and stomped away after the final buzzer.
Jaden McDaniels led Washington (13-16, 3-13) with 19 points. The Huskies snapped a nine-game losing streak last Saturday with a win over California, but lost yet another close game in conference play. The Huskies are 0-9 in conference games decided by six points or less. Nahziah Carter added 14 points, but missed on a difficult drive inside the final 10 seconds that could have tied the game.
Isaiah Stewart added 10 points and 11 rebounds in likely his final home game, with the Washington freshman considered a first-round NBA lock.
It was a wild second-half where both teams went on major runs and momentum swung constantly.
Washington erased all of the 13-point halftime deficit and led 51-50 after Jamal Bey’s baseline dunk. But Bey made a critical mistake on the other end that sparked the Cougars.
Bey lingered a little too long in the face of Bonton after swatting his shot, and was called for a technical foul. The technical ended up being a five-point possession for Washington State after Bonton hit both free throws and Elleby got free for a corner 3-pointer.
Stewart picked up his fourth foul on a charge at the other end and Bonton hit consecutive 3s. In just 64 seconds Washington State went from down one to up 10.
Washington pulled within 71-67 on a 3-pointer from Marcus Tsohonis with 2:44 left, but RaeQuan Battle missed an open 3 moments later after a Washington State turnover that could have trimmed the lead to one.
Elijah Hardy’s 3-pointer with 1:09 left pulled Washington within 75-72 and the Cougars committed a shot-clock violation on their next possession. The lead was down to one after Carter’s driving basket with 23 seconds left.
Bonton split a pair of free throws for a 76-74 Cougars lead, but Carter was unable to get a clean look on his drive into the lane and Williams clinched it at the free-throw line.