PULLMAN — CJ Elleby scored a career-high 27 points and Washington State overpowered Seattle University 85-54 Thursday night.
Washington State looked strong on both sides of the ball in its season opener under new coach Kyle Smith.
The Cougars had only three turnovers and led the entire game, outscoring Seattle U 32-22 in the paint.
“We just did a great job wire to wire, and we have to feel great about that,” Smith said. “We talk about three things: defending, rebounding and taking care of the ball. If you only turn the ball over three times you are always going to give yourself a chance.”
Elleby had an impressive performance, shooting 12 of 18 from the field and grabbing seven rebounds.
“The way we play right now has a lot to do with the chemistry we built over the summer and fall,” Elleby said. “I am just really comfortable out there with my teammates. They know where I like the ball, and it was just easy.”
Issac Bonton added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Seattle U (1-1) struggled with a stifling defensive effort by the Cougars.
“I didn’t see that rotten egg coming. Just really disappointed,” Seattle U coach Jim Hayford said. “We laid down and 10 points got to 20 points and the rest of the game we just kind of went through the motions.”
Terrell Brown had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Redhawks.
“I thought Terrell played his heart out for us,” Hayford said. “He is going to need a lot of help from our other guys. We play a really good team on Saturday (at Eastern Washington), so if we don’t get our act together we are going to get another serving of this.”