If Washington State’s season opening win over Texas Southern is any indication, Cougars fans better be ready to fasten their seat belts. Washington State, which rallied from a 22-point first half deficit on Sunday to defeat the Tigers 86-84 in overtime, host high-scoring Seattle on Wednesday night.
“This game is probably a microcosm of what our season’s going to be,” said Washington State coach Ernie Kent after his team fell behind 31-9 and shot a miserable 24 percent in the first half against a Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent. But the Cougars rallied to outscore Texas Southern 48-30 in the second half to force overtime. That’s when Malachi Flynn took over, scoring nine of his 19 points, including a 3-pointer with 44 seconds to go that gave Washington State the lead for good. “I think this shows a lot about our team,” Flynn said. “We’re really young, not too many with experience at this level. But this shows how much heart we have that we were able to battle back and win.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT SEATTLE (1-1): The Redhawks bounced back from a season opening 62-46 loss at Saint Louis to crush Division III Puget Sound 121-70 on Sunday. The 121 points were a Division I school record for Seattle, which led 67-30 at halftime, shot 63.5 percent from the floor and finished with a 61-30 rebounding advantage. Richaud Gittens, a graduate transfer from Weber State, led the Redhawks with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting while forward Josh Hearlihy, who had previous stops at Tulane and Vermont, added 23 points, eight rebounds and eight of Seattle’s eye-popping 32 turnovers.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (1-0): Forward Robert Franks, who averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds last season, had a career-high 25 points in the opener, including 18 straight to help fuel the second-half comeback. He also grabbed 11 rebounds for his first career double-double and was 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Flynn, the lone returning starter from a team that finished 13-18 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-12, scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half and overtime and had a career-high eight assists while redshirt freshman Milan Acquaah added 12 points and four assists.
1. The series between Washington State and Seattle is tied at seven wins apiece but this is the first meeting since 1990 when the Cougars, who have won five of the last six matchups, came away with a 121-82 victory.
2. The Cougars attempted 46 3-pointers against Texas Southern and made 15 (32.6 percent).
3. Washington State improved to just 7-51 under Kent when trailing at halftime.
PREDICTION: Washington State 94, Seattle 88