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Pac-12 Tournament play begins Wednesday for 7-seeded Cougs

Mar 8, 2022

Pac-12 Tournament | Wed.-Sat., March 9-12 | Las Vegas | T-Mobile Arena
  Tournament Central |
  Live Stats | StatBroadcast
  Listen | WSU Learfield Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)

> The Cougs finished the regular season tied for 5th in the Pac-12, the best conference finish since 2007-08. Their winning record (11-9) in Pac play was just the third since the turn of the century. Overall the Cougs won 18 games, the most since the 2011-12 season.
> Under Head Coach Kyle Smith the Cougs are 1-1 in the Pac-12 Tournament, winning in 2020 before Covid-19 shutdown the tournament and falling in 2021 in the first round. The win in 2020 was WSU's first in the tournament since the 2009 season.
> Three Cougs earned all-conference honors in Michael Flowers (2nd Team), Mouhamed Gueye (All-Freshman) and Efe Abogidi (Defensive HM). Gueye was a five time Freshman of the Week as well.
> WSU enters the postseason the top three-point shooting team in the Pac-12 at 9.2 per game led by Flowers at 2.9 per game. The Cougs are 11-3 in games with double-digit three-pointers and are coming off a record-setting performance hitting 16 against Oregon, the most in a Pac game for WSU.
> Defensively the Cougs have allowed 65.3 points per game and are 41st in the country in defensive rating at 95.7 per 100 possessions. (DI average of 103.6). Efe Abogidi leads the way with a defensive rating of 90.8.

Ahead of the conference championship tournament, the Pac-12 Conference announced the postseason awards with Washington State earning three honors. Fifth-year Michael Flowers earned second team honors while freshman big Mouhamed Gueye was recognized with All-Freshman honors. Sophomore Efe Abogidi's prowess in the paint earned him an honorable mention nod to the All-Defensive Team. Flowers and Gueye were first time recipients while Abogidi earned his second award after taking home all-freshman honor last season. 
- Flowers finished his first and only season in the Pac-12 among the best scorers in the conference as the sharpshooting guard led the way with 2.9 3pt per game on 38.9% shooting. His shooting led to a team-best 14.2 ppg (9th in the Pac-12) while adding 3.4 apg and 3.4 rpg. His 2.14 a/t ratio ranked fifth in the conference as he ended the regular season with 105 assists to just 49 turnovers.
- Gueye was arguably the best freshman in the league in Pac-12 play finishing the year with a league best four Freshman of the Week awards in 2022 in conference play (five overall). Against Pac-12 opponents, Gueye posted 8.8 ppg (51.7% shooting) and 5.6 rpg to go with 1.1 bpg. He posted 7 double-digit scoring games in Pac play including a 25 point career night in his first rivalry game against Washington.
- Abogidi anchored a Coug defense that finished the regular season among the elite in Division I allowing just 65.3 points per game. He ended the regular season with 1.71 blocks per game, 2nd among all shot blockers in the conference, while his 54 total blocks ranks 6th on the Cougs' all-time single season list. Additionally, he led the Cougs' rebounding efforts at 5.6 per game grabbing 20% of the rebounding chances on the defensive end. He is the first since Jervae Robinson in 2020 to earn all-defensive honors.

In a season of ups and downs the Cougs finished the regular season 18-13 overall to post the most wins in a season in a decade on the Palouse since tallying 19 in the 2011-12 season. The Cougs win total was bolstered by strong run through the Pac-12 going 11-9 on the year for just the program's 13th winning season in conference play since the Pac was formed in the 1968-69 and the first since Tony Bennett roamed the sideline in 2007-08. In all the Cougs finished tied for 5th place alongside of Oregon and Washington. The finish was the team's best finish in Pac play since 2007-08 when the Cougs finished tied for 3rd. It marks just the third time WSU finished in the top-5 since 1994-95.
As they have done for three seasons under Head Coach Kyle Smith the Cougs made the most of their time on the court against their PNW rivals finishing 4-2 against UW, Oregon, and Oregon State. WSU finished the regular season winning 4-of-5 (all against their PNW rivals) including a 94-74 win over Oregon to close things out (the largest margin of victory since 2009.

The Cougs enter the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 7 seed (after losing both tie-breakers to Oregon and Washington) looking to pick up their second win at the tournament in three seasons under Coach Smith. Last season the Cougs fell to ASU in the opening round in a rematch of the season finale. In 2019-20, the Cougs came up with a historic win in the opening round at the Pac-12 Tournament defeating 6-seed Colorado, 82-68, to advance to the second round of the tournament, becoming the first 11-seed to win its opening game in the tournament. The win also marked the first time for WSU winning a conference tournament game while seeded 9th or lower. Additionally, the win was just the 6th all-time (6-20) for the Cougs at the tournament and the first since 2009 when the tournament was held in Los Angeles and was the Pac-10 Tournament.
Overall the Cougs are 6-21 at the Pac Tournament including 1-1 as the No. 7 seed. Against Cal the Cougs are 0-1.

In three seasons under head coach Kyle Smith the Cougs have continually grown as a team finishing each season at .500 or better including back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in over a decade. In addition, the Cougs picked up 11 Pac-12 wins giving them double-digit conference wins for the first time since 2007-08 while posting a winning conference record for just the 3rd time since the turn of the century and first time since 2007-08. Since the legend Coach Raveling patrolled the sidelines the Cougs have posted a .500 or better record in conference play just 8 times prior to this season.

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