ARON BAYNES: 18 points, 9 rebounds
IT HAD BEEN a physical game. And it was about to get a lot more physical. Locked in a tightly contested battle well into the second half at Idaho, Washington State went inside to Aron Baynes. And the Cougs pulled away down the stretch, besting a game Idaho squad 55-41 after allowing the Vandals but one bucket over the final 11 minutes.
Count Tony Bennett among those who relished the physical nature of the game played between the Cougs and Vandals. A requirement of that feeling, however, is that the refs as the saying goes, "let them play." And they did.
There were only seven and eight personal fouls called against WSU and UI, respectively. Only one player, Idaho forward Luciano De Souza, picked up as many as three personals.
“I loved it, and I thought the refs did a good job," Bennett told govandals.net. "They were consistent…that reminded me of an NCAA tournament officiated game, where they let clean banging go and then step in when they needed to. I’m a big fan of that."
IDAHO CHALLENGED throughout the first half and the Cougs could not pull away, shooting a chilly 10-for-26 over the first 20 minutes. Washington State's defense, however, held Idaho to but 29.6 percent from the floor (8-for-27). The Cougs led 22-20 at the break, tying their season low for first-half points (Baylor).
With 10:59 left, and the Cougars up by the slimmest of margins at 39-38, Aron Baynes took over on the offensive end and Washington State dropped the hammer on defense, outscoring UI 16-3 the rest of the way.
Baynes had 18 points and nine boards in the win to move WSU to 8-3 on the year.
Taylor Rochestie was the other Cougar in double figures, with 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting along with six rebounds and five assists.
The Cougs shot 53.6 percent in the second half.
Caleb Forrest got his first start of the season, taking the place of Nikola Koprivica. Forrest was 3-for-7 for six points and grabbed four rebounds and a steal in 31 minutes. Koprivica had three points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
FORMER COUGAR Mac Hopson was the only Vandal in double figures, scoring 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting with six assists, six rebounds and a steal.
“Nah, nothing surprised me," said Hopson. "I knew what they were going to do, and they executed. Down the stretch we were in the game, but then it just came to like leadership. Taylor, Daven (Harmeling), Baynes. They’ve all been here; so that’s what it came down to. Baynes kinda killed…well, he DID kill us down low."
Klay Thompson had nine points, four assists, 1 block and 1 steal in the win.
Washington State outscored Idaho 10-2 on second half chances and outrebounded the Vandals 37-28, with the offensive rebounds also going the Cougs' way, 7 to 5.