Williams, Washington State rally to beat Eastern Washington

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Noah Williams scored a career-high 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and made several big plays down the stretch to help Washington State beat Eastern Washington 71-68 on Saturday night.

Williams hit a 3-pointer, stole a pass by Eastern Washington’s Michael Meadows on the other end, and then made another 3 to give Washington State (2-0) — which had led for just 25 second to that point — a 61-59 lead with 4:48 remaining. EWU’s Jacob Groves tied it with two free throws, Williams fed TJ Bamba for a layup and, after a layup by Groves, Williams knifed into the lane for a layup and then hit two free throws to make it 67-63 with 1:08 to play. Jacob Davison sandwiched a layup and a 3-pointer around a dunk — assisted by Williams — by Volodymyr Markovetskyy to make it a one-point game but after Isaac Bonton missed a step-back jumper with 19 seconds left, Williams took a charge and Bonton capped the scoring with two free throws.

Tanner Groves led Eastern Washington (0-1) with a career-high tying 17 points and nine rebounds and Jacob Groves had career bests of 16 points and eight rebounds.

Washington State made just one of its first eight field-goal attempts while Tanner Groves hit two 3-pointers during a 16-3 opening spurt by Eastern Washington.

The Eagles had just seven scholarship players available as five EWU players missed the game due to the protocols surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Myles Warren made a layup to give the Cougars a 46-45 lead — their first of the game — with 13:53 to play.

Bonton, who averaged 15.3 points last season and scored 28 in WSU’s season opener Wednesday, had 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting.

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