Washington State takes down Washington in Seattle just eight days after a woeful loss at Arizona State. It took a special motivator to help make it happen.
Its a mere eight days since the the debacle in the desert.
Washington State took a laissez-faire approach against Arizona State last Saturday and left the sunshine with an embarrassing loss.
The team met with coach Ken Bone during the week. They met among themselves. They went to the bullpen, bringing in Washington State baseball coach Donnie Marbut to inform them they were 300-thread-count soft.
Thats what Marbut told them, more or less. Toughen up or else.
Thats what we needed, was someone to call us out, Klay Thompson said.
Thompsons game-high 26 points helped. As did crisp defense that held Washington to just 17 first-half points, a low for the Huskies under coach Lorenzo Romar.
Washington State withstood all circumstances Sunday:
The Huskies grasps at extra motivation prior to the game stemming from Cougars fans storming the court in Beasley Coliseum following the first win.
Playing in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, where Washington had not lost this season.
Holding it together when Washington cut the lead to six, 65-59, in front of a roaring arena.
After checking out at Arizona State, the Cougars were checked in Sunday as much as any point this season.
We kind of slapped ourselves in the face when we lost to ASU, DeAngelo Casto, 20 points and 13 rebounds, said. We pushed ourselves against a wall. This is a team that is capable of a lot of things. But weve got to show up every game.
It was less venue and opponent for Bone. The Cougars had tantalized, then tumbled over and over this season. Following verbal dismissal from the NCAA Tournament by all pundits after the ASU loss, the Cougars just needed a win. When asked if this was the biggest of the year, Bone paused.
Yeah, Bone said. Especially the timing of it. We desperately needed it.
Thompson left the locker room still bouncy from the game. He provided crucial 3-pointers and able passing following an atrocious personal start to the game.
He touched on intensity as reason for the win over Washington. Referenced the meetings, talked of focus. All factors. But he also added another.
I think we have just as much talent if not more, Thompson said.
The rest of the year is a question of maintenance for the Cougars (18-10, 8-8). Reggie Moore and Casto were each level-headed enough to say this win alone does not provide Washington State heavy consideration for the NCAA Tournament. That will only happen if Sunday becomes the norm instead of anomaly.
Though Washington State has at least one night to enjoy 2-0 against Washington.
Theres no better feeling in basketball than winning in your rivals gym and seeing their fans file out early, Thompson said. This is a great win, but we cant get too high on ourselves.
Theyve seen that result before.