Cougars earn season sweep of Huskies with 78-74 thriller

SEATTLE, Wash. — Missing a player is often the quickest way to figure out how important they are to a team. Isaac Bonton is that for the Washington State Cougars.

He made his return Friday night after missing the previous three games for the Cougs, and they needed every bit of his 20 points against their rival, Washington.

WSU secured a 13-point lead at halftime, their largest lead in Pac-12 play at the break all season. As they did in Pullman, however, the Huskies came back. A few times.

The Cougars struggled to hold on to the ball, turning it over 21 times. The Dawgs took advantage of several to start the second and chip away at the lead. First, Nahziah Carter notched the game up at 45 a piece with a lay-in and 12 minutes to play. Then, a Jamal Bey dunk with 9:30 to play gave the Huskies their first lead since the 16-minute mark in the first half.

Enter, Bonton.He answered with back-to-back threes after two made three throws, scoring eight points in just 60 seconds of play. The Cougars separated by 10.

Washington clawed back to within three, and then with 30 seconds left, the Cougs committed a shot clock violation, turning it over to Naz Carter. He out-muscled Jervae Robinson and scored right under the hoop tio make it a 75-74 game with :24 remaining.

The Huskies fouled Bonton on the inbounds, he made 1/2 free throws, and then Washington State needed to play some defense. Time ticked down from 18 seconds, and freshman Noah Williams forced a tough shot out of Carter that wouldn’t go. Rebound, Williams. He was fouled, and drained two free throws to ice the game.

In his first year as Cougar head coach, Kyle Smith sweeps the Huskies with a 78-74 win in Seattle. It’s also Washington State’s first road win in the Pac-12, they improve to 6-10 in conference.

The Huskies remain in last place, falling to a woeful 3-13 in conference.