Tyrell Roberts scored 16 points, making four 3-pointers, as Washington State opened its season with an 85-67 nonconference victory against Alcorn State on Tuesday afternoon in Pullman, Wash.
The Cougars were led by their new backcourt featuring a pair of transfers in Roberts, who was an NCAA Division II All-American last season at UC San Diego, and Michael Flowers from South Alabama. Flowers scored nine points and added game-high totals of 11 rebounds and six assists.
Reserves Jefferson Koulibaly and TJ Bamba added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Cougars, considered a dark horse NCAA Tournament candidate after going 14-13 last season — their first winning campaign since 2011-12.
Alcorn State was paced by Paul King and Oddyst Walker, who both scored 10 points.
The Braves are scheduled to play all 13 of their nonconference games on the road, including matchups with three of last season’s Final Four teams — Gonzaga, Houston and defending national champion Baylor.
After going 6-13 last season, Alcorn State coach Landon Bussie brought in five Division I transfers in Keondre Montgomery (Mississippi State), Lenell Henry (Prairie View A&M), LaDarius “Krunchy” Marshall (New Orleans), Darrious Agnew (Southeast Missouri State) and Dontrell McQuarter (Rider). Those five combined for 24 points on 7-for-27 shooting.
Washington State led 17-15 with 8:15 left in the first half when Koulibaly came off the bench, hit a 3-pointer and followed that with a layup.
Back-to-back 3s by Andrej Jakimovski and Roberts extended the lead to 28-17 with 5:51 left.
A hook shot by Agnew pulled the Braves within nine with 2:50 left, but two free throws by Bamba and another Jakimovski trey extended the lead to 37-23. Alcorn State never got within single digits the rest of the way.
Washington State led 39-25 at the intermission and opened the second half with an 11-2 run to take a 23-point advantage, its largest of the game.
The Cougars were 11 of 34 from 3-point range, while the Braves were 4 of 17.
–Field Level Media
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