Washington State never trails, beats Cal in Pac-12 tourney

Mar 9, 2022, 6:47 AM | Updated: 8:49 pm
California's Lars Thiemann (21) drives around Washington State during the second half of an NCAA co...

California's Lars Thiemann (21) drives around Washington State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday, March 9, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Efe Abogidi scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half and No. 7 seed Washington State never trailed in its 66-59 victory over tenth-seeded California in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday night.

Washington State (19-13) will look for its fifth straight win when it faces No. 2 seed UCLA in a Thursday quarterfinal. UCLA beat the Cougars 76-56 about three weeks ago.

Abogidi was 7 of 17 from the field. Tyrell Roberts added 14 points for the Cougars, which also swept the regular-season series against Cal. Michael Flowers and TJ Bamba had 12 points apiece. Dishon Jackson matched a career high with five blocked shots to go with four points.

Jordan Shepherd scored 19 points to lead Cal (12-20), which has lost five of its last six games. Jalen Celestine had 11 points.

Washington State opened the game on a 9-2 surge on its way to a 32-20 halftime advantage. Cal cut the deficit to four early in the second half but didn’t get closer.

Washington State is 2-1 with coach Kyle Smith in the conference tournament, winning in 2020 before COVID-19 shut down the tournament and losing last season in the first round. The win in 2020 was WSU’s first in the tournament since 2009.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Wednesday night.

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Washington State never trails, beats Cal in Pac-12 tourney