Washington State opens with 80-70 victory over NAU
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Josh Hawkinson scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Washington State to an 80-70 victory over Northern Arizona on Friday night.
The nonconference game at Beasley Coliseum was the season opener for both teams.
Washington State freshman Viont'e Daniels sank all five of his 3-point attempts and matched Hawkinson's 15 points. Que Johnson and Renard Suggs both added 11 points for the Cougars.
Kris Yanku led Northern Arizona with 15 points. Jaleni Neely and Torry Johnson both scored 13, Jordyn Martin had 12 and Mike Green added 11.
Washington State led 24-6 after seven minutes and 47-34 at the half. Northern Arizona never mounted a serious threat, though a 10-2 Lumberjacks run midway through the second half briefly reduced WSU's lead to 70-59.
The more experienced Cougars had a 42-17 advantage in bench points. WSU shot 45.6 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent on 3-pointers. Northern Arizona shot 37.3 percent from the floor and 25 percent on 3's.
Yanku, a junior guard, broke Kyle Landry's school record of 358 career free throws made. Yanku led the nation last season with 230 free throws made, setting school and Big Sky Conference records.
Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks have one of the youngest teams in NCAA Division I. Eleven of the 15 players are freshmen, including redshirt freshman guard Torry Johnson. Three lettermen return from a 23-15 team that lost to Evansville in the finals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. NAU was picked to finish fourth in the Big Skyin the preseason media and coaches polls.
Washington State: Veteran coach Ernie Kent, starting his second season with the Cougars, brought in four junior college transfers to try to speed up the rebuilding process. After finishing 13-18 last season, the Cougars were picked last in the preseason media poll of the Pac-12 Conference. The Pac-12 doesn't have a coaches poll.
Northern Arizona visits Boise State on Monday.
Washington State hosts Idaho State next Friday.