PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — One of CJ Elleby’s favorite things is getting a steal and then seeing the open court in front of him.
His seven steals and 23 points helped lead Washington State to a 72-61 victory over Idaho State Sunday afternoon in Pullman.
“It’s my favorite,” Elleby said. “I love getting steals. I don’t think I have had seven before.”
Washington State (2-1) had three different players in double figures, went 13 of 16 from the free-throw line and outscored Idaho State 46-32 in the paint.
Elleby had a solid performance, shooting 9 of 14 from the field, and grabbing eight rebounds. Issac Bonton added 15 points and four assists, while Jeff Pollard scored 11 points and had six rebounds.
Eight different players scored for the Cougars, who shot 44 percent overall despite only going 3 of 17 from beyond the arc.
“We took care of the ball and made some good plays,” said Washington State coach Kyle Smith. “I thought we played with a little more poise in the second half and got our legs underneath us.”
The Bengals (2-2) struggled with the Cougars’ defensive effort. Washington State scored 21 points off 20 Idaho State turnovers and held Tarik Cool, the Bengals leading scorer at 19.7 points per game, to two free throws. Cool went 0 of 6 from the field.
Chier Maker had 15 points and six rebounds for the Bengals and Jared Stutzman added 15 points and five rebounds.
“Obviously we are disappointed we didn’t win the game, but I’m happy with a few things,” said Idaho State coach Ryan Looney. “We have got three guys who might be starters for us who haven’t played a game yet because we are waiting on a waiver and two have injuries. We are going to keep coaching them up and try to get better every day and have all those guys healthy here soon.”
Washington State: After shooting just 4 of 14 in a loss to Santa Clara, Elleby found his stroke again against Idaho State. He will need to remain consistent for the Cougars to make a splash in the Pac-12.
Idaho State: The Bengals were plagued by turnovers and a lack of production from its leading scorer against Washington State.
SECOND IN STEALS
Elleby’s seven steals in a game ranks second all-time for the Cougars.
Washington State’s Jaylen Shead left the game on his own with an injury in the second half. Coach Kyle Smith said he will be evaluated over the coming week.
Idaho State: The Bengals travel to play Santa Clara on Friday.
Washington State: The Cougars play the Omaha Mavericks at home on Thursday night.