The Cougars overcame a slow start for an 81-76 victory in Kennewick.

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Ike Iroegbu spurred a second-half charge for the Washington State men’s basketball team, which fended off Central Washington to emerge with an 81-76 victory at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Tuesday night.

Iroegbu scored 14 of his 15 points in the second half despite taking a hard spill early in the half on a drive to the basket.

“I’m hurting right now, I’ll get some ice on it,” Iroegbu told the Cougars postgame radio show. “After I fell I went back into the locker room and gathered myself. You could say that foul really woke me up.”

WSU trailed 46-40 at halftime, and the teams traded leads through much of the second half. The Cougars (2-0) went up for good on the Division II Wildcats when Iroegbu made a layup to make it 55-53 with 11:50 remaining.

The Cougars built an 11-point lead in the second half, but a pair of Rainier Beach High products kept the Wildcats in the game. Fuquan Niles dominated WSU inside, scoring 12 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.

Naim Ladd, the 5-foot-7 cousin of former Cougar Mike Ladd, who also played at Rainier Beach, scored 12 points. And the Wildcats were led by 26 points from Dom Hunter, a product of Decatur High.

Four WSU players scored in double digits. Freshman Malachi Flynn and senior post Josh Hawkinson of Shorewood High led the way with 18 points apiece. Viont’e Daniels had 10. Most impressively, Flynn had just one turnover despite playing 32 minutes in his second game at point guard.

Hawkinson also had 12 rebounds, giving him his 42nd career double-double, two shy of Mark Hendrickson’s school record. Hawkinson also blocked four shots.


• Husky Handwalla Bwana was named men’s soccer Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Bwana was joined on the All-Pac-12 teams by Justin Schmidt, Auden Schilder, Henry Wingo and Kyle Coffee.


• The Seattle Thunderbirds scored three third-period goals to break open the game in a 5-2 victory at Spokane.

Dominic Zwerger had two goals and two assists as Everett crushed visiting Calgary 6-1. The Silvertips converted five power-play goals. Patrick Bajkov and Sean Richards each had one goal and two assists.