PULLMAN, Wash. — Where there was one burr in the Pokes’ saddle, there was another.
Chilly shooting, defensive lapses and Washington State’s own efficiency gave Wyoming its share of fits at the College Basketball Invitational on Monday night.
The Pac-12’s leading scorer, Brock Motum, netted a game-high 25 points to help the Cougars to a 61-41 victory, ending the Cowboys’ season in the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
Playing in the confines of Beasley Coliseum — which has helped WSU win 11 of its 14 home games — didn’t hurt the Cougars, either. On the flipside, UW’s road futility continued as the Cowboys dropped their eighth consecutive road game.
“I’m disappointed that we played so poorly,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “But it doesn’t take away the season we had and the body of work these guys put in.”
UW center Adam Waddell tallied 11 of his team’s 13 points in the first half. It was in that initial stanza in which the Cowboys were thrown off by WSU’s mixture of man and zone defenses.
Five of the Cowboys’ 11 turnovers were forced at the game’s onset and Washington State (17-16) took advantage of the takeaways.
The Cowboys, who prided themselves on defense all season, got their share of stops. But Motum, a first-team, All-Pac-12 selection, made the most of his touches.
“I think [Motum’s] really efficient with what he does,” Waddell said. “We had some struggles with him [Monday].”
Wyoming led 5-4 early, but the Cougars retook the lead on their next possession and never trailed again. The Pokes didn’t help their cause with a 2-of-16 performance from beyond the arc.
Leonard Washington, who faced Washington State during his days at USC, finished with a team-high 14 points and hit a jumper to cut the Cougars lead to 26-21 just before intermission.
In the second half, however, it was all Washington State.
When Wyoming crashed on the Cougars’ bigs, Abe Lodwick was able to capitalize from long range, going 4-for-7 and finishing with 16 points.
The biggest disparity for Wyoming was at the stripe, though. WSU connected on 21 of its 29 attempts while Wyoming went just 7-of-11.
“[Washington State] played a very physical game and I think that affected what we did offensively,” Shyatt said.
The Pokes finished 21-12 for their first 20-win season in nine years.