Noah Williams scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half and collected eight rebounds to help Washington State rally to a 71-68 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday night at Pullman, Wash.
Isaac Bonton scored 11 points despite just 3-of-16 shooting as the Cougars (2-0) won for the 23rd timein the past 24 meetings with the Eagles (0-1). Efe Abogidi scored 10 points before fouling out.
Tanner Groves recorded 17 points and nine rebounds and his younger brother Jacob had 16 points and eight rebounds for Eastern Washington. Kim Aiken Jr. added 14 points and eight rebounds and Jacob Davison had 12 points in the battle of schools located about 65 miles apart.
The Eagles trailed 69-68 and had a chance for a late go-ahead basket but Aiken was called for a charging foul with 3.4 seconds remaining. Bonton made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to give Washington State a three-point lead before Davison's tying attempt was short from midcourt as time expired.
Eastern Washington used just six players as the team was without five players -- including starting point guard Ellis Magnuson -- due to COVID-19 protocols. Also out were Austin Fadal, Tyler Robertson, Casson Rouse and Steele Venters.
The Spokesman-Review of Spokane (Wash.) reported that one player tested positive and the other four were considered close contacts.
Washington State shot 39.7 percent from the field and was 10 of 30 from 3-point range. The Eagles shot 41.4 percent and were 9 of 29 from behind the arc.
Williams connected on consecutive 3-pointers to give the Cougars a 61-59 lead with 4:48 left.
After the Eagles twice tied the score, Williams drove for a layup to give Washington State a 65-63 advantage with 2:20 to play. He added two free throws with 1:08 left to boost the lead to four.
The Cougars never led until Myles Warren scored on a layup to give them a 46-45 edge with 13:53 left in the game.
The Eagles responded with a 9-2 run with Tanner Groves completing it with a layup for a 54-48 advantage.
Earlier, Tanner Groves scored 12 first-half points and Eastern Washington was 7 of 14 from 3-point range en route to a 39-33 lead at the break.
The Eagles began the game with 3-pointers from Tanner Groves and Perry and never trailed in the half. Later, Perry and Tanner Groves hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Eastern Washington a 16-3 advantage with 14:14 remaining.
Washington State opened the second half in much better fashion than the first. The Cougars scored nine of the first 12 points and tied the game at 42 on a basket by Brandton Chatfield with 15:48 remaining.
--Field Level Media