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Postseason NIT play tips-off Tuesday with Santa Clara

Mar 14, 2022

vs Santa Clara (21-11) | Tue., March 15 | 8 pm | Beasley Coliseum
  Live Stats | StatBroadcast
  Watch | ESPNU (Chuckie Kempf & Adrian Branch)
  Listen | WSU Learfield Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)

The Cougs enter head to the NIT for just the sixth time in program history and the first time since 2011. All time at the NIT the Cougs are 7-5 including going 3-1 in 2011 as the WSU, led by Klay Thompson, played its way to the semifinals, defeating Long Beach State, Oklahoma State, and Northwestern before falling to Wichita State. The Cougs have played in the NIT five times in their program history winning their opening round game in all but one season. That one loss in 2009 happened to come at the hands of Saint Mary's with coach Kyle Smith on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the Gaels. The loss also came on the road in the only first round game WSU has played away from Pullman in its five tournament appearances. Of the seven tournament victories, six have come inside Beasley Coliseum including three in the teams run to the semifinals in 2011.

For the first time since 2019 the Cougs and the Broncos will meet on the hardwood as the two sides meet in the postseason for the first time in program history. The last time the two teams met came in Santa Clara with the Broncos coming out on top 70-62. Only Noah Williams and DJ Rodman played in that game as freshmen while five Broncos return including three starters from this season (Josip Vrankic, Keshawn Justice, and Jalen Williams). The last time the two teams met in Pullman came back in 2016 with the Cougs squeaking out a 69-68 win. All-time the Cougs are 5-3 against the Broncos with a perfect 3-0 record in Pullman and a 2-0 record at Beasley Coliseum.

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 finished the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament 1-1 with an opening round run over Cal, 66-59, before falling in to UCLA, 75-65. The Cougs were without freshman standout Mouhamed Gueye who missed the tournament due to an ankle injury. The games were his first missed contests all season long.
The opening win for the Cougs was just their 7th win all-time at the Pac Tournament however it was their 2nd in three seasons under head coach Kyle Smith.
WSU is now 7-22 overall at the Pac Tournament and 2-2 as the 7 seed.

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