Washington State beats Idaho State, 74-39

KENNEWICK (AP) — Washington State overcame a sluggish start to defeat Idaho State 74-39 on Saturday.

The Cougars (9-4) used a 20-2 run late in the first half to blow open a close game.

Point guard Mike Ladd scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Cougars, who have won four in a row and six of their last seven games.

“My teammates found me and I got on the offensive boards,” Ladd said.

Brock Motum added 17 points and seven rebounds for Washington State, which trailed 8-6 midway through the first half before Ladd scored seven points and Motum five during the run which put the Cougars on top 26-10 with 4:37 left in the half.

“We go to whoever is on fire,” Washington State’s DaVonte Lacy said. “Mike played well today, so we went to him. We know our strengths. We know where our bread is buttered and that is where we are going to continue to get better.”

The Cougars allowed just 14 points in the first half, as Idaho State made just six of its 20 shots from the field.

“Our defense played very good today, especially in the first half,” Motum said. “We’ve got to try and put two halves together every game. If we had played the same way defensively in the second half that we did in the first half that would’ve been 28 points and that would’ve been outstanding.”

Washington State opens Pac-12 play next Saturday, hosting rival Washington in Pullman. Coach Ken Bone was somewhat pleased with his team entering the conference season.

“If I was to put a letter grade on it, I would say B-plus,” he said. “It’s not exactly where we want to be, but I think we’ve made great strides in certain areas that could really help us out in Pac-12 play.”

Chris Hansen’s 12 points led Idaho State (1-10), which lost its fifth consecutive game. The Bengals are 0-3 against Pac-12 teams this season with previous losses to Utah and Oregon.

“We did frustrate them early, but we weren’t able to convert the frustrations into baskets,” Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. “Our big thing is we have a really hard time scoring and that puts a lot of pressure on your defense.”