PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Josh Hawkinson led Washington State with 17 points and 14 rebounds in an 84-69 triumph over UTEP on Sunday.
Conor Clifford added 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and at the free-throw line for the Cougars (6-2).
Lee Moore led UTEP (6-3) with 13 points despite sinking just 4 of 16 field-goal attempts. Earvin Morris and Terry Winn both scored 12 points.
The Cougars shot a season-high 55.3 percent from the field, including 50 percent on 3-pointers. UTEP started the day ranked 18th in the nation in field-goal shooting defense (37 percent) and 3-point shooting defense (27.4 percent). WSU was ranked 19th in field-goal shooting (49.6) on offense.
UTEP struggled against Washington State’s zone defense, hitting just 36.5 percent from the floor and 26.1 percent from 3-point range. Most of the scoring for both teams came at the free-throw line in the game’s final nine minutes.
Washington State led 39-33 at halftime. WSU’s Derrien King, a junior college transfer who had taken just four shots and scored five points in brief appearances in three games, came off the bench in the final six minutes of the half and sank all three of his shots – all from 3-point range – to lead the Cougars with nine points in the half.
King finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Que Johnson scored 11 points for WSU.
The Cougars outrebounded UTEP 38-36. The Cougars were outrebounded 39-22 in their previous game, a 78-74 loss at Idaho on Thursday.
UTEP: The Miners’ only victory in their last 15 nonconference road games came at Washington State on Dec. 21, 2013.
Washington State: The Cougars lead opponents 58-12 in blocked shots after topping the Miners 9-1. WSU came into the day ranked third in the nation with seven blocks per game.
UTEP hosts New Mexico State on Saturday.
Washington State hosts Texas State on Friday.