• A close game in the quarterfinals is nothing new in the Wooden Legacy, especially since 2010. In 2016 there was a two-point game in the quarterfinals, while in 2011, 2013 and 2015 there was an overtime game on the first day. There were a pair of three-point games in 2012 in the quarterfinals.
• Saint Joseph’s Shavar Newkirk tied a Wooden Legacy tournament record with his 14 3pt-FGA in a regulation game, equaling the mark set by Cal State Fullerton’s Josh Akognon in 2008.
• Washington State established a new tournament record with its 16 made 3pt-FGs, surpassing the 14 that both Saint Louis and Santa Clara had (both in 2011).
• For the second straight game, a team had a low-scoring first half, then exploded in the second half… after scoring 24 points in the first 20 minutes, the Cougars scored 51 in the second half, narrowly missing the tournament record of 54.
Washington State (4-0)
• Playing in its fifth ESPN event (5-8 record in those)… this marks WSU’s first tournament-opening win since 2012-13.
• Made 16 3pt-FGs, and have now made at least 12 in all four games this season… in the last two years combined the Cougars had just three total games with 12+ 3pt-FGM…the 16 made treys is the most since hitting 18 on 12/6/14 vs. Texas-San Antonio.
• Viont’e Daniels tied a career best with 17 points, which he also did two games ago against Seattle… he also tied his career best with five 3pt-FGM, which he did in his first ever collegiate game vs. NAU on 11/13/15.
• Washington State continues to be a second half team… tonight they trailed by 20 before coming back to win, their second deficit of 20+ points overcome to win this season… WSU now outscores its foes 49.0 to 30.5 after the break this season… WSU is now 3-0 when trailing at half this year.
Saint Joseph’s (2-2)
• Playing in its third ESPN event (4-3 record in those).
• Already has made at least 10 3pt-FGs in three games after connecting on 10 tonight… all of last year the Hawks had just two games with 10+ 3pt-FGM.
• Pierfrancesco Oliva set a career high in rebounds with 10… he had eight in the first half, equaling his previous career best which he did three times.
• Shavar Newkirk led all scorers with 24 points, his 10th career game with 20 or more… this was his 17th straight game in double figures.
• Carter Skaggs made his first 3pt-FG attempt of the game before missing, ending his streak spanning the last three games at 10 consecutive 3pt-FGM.
• Taylor Funk, the team’s leading scorer entering the game at 20.3 ppg, had just eight points, his first game in single digits.
Washington State Head Coach Ernie Kent:
(On team’s fight in the second half) – “This team has tremendous, what I would call, moxie. We’ve had three games now, this is the second one we’ve been down 20 plus points and yet they tend to calm down. The one-three-one has been fabulous for us to be able to change the defensive intensity and really give us some offensive swagger and getting ourselves back in the games.”
(On second half success) – “In three games now we’ve shot over 50 percent in the second half and scored over 50 points. This team has had a chance to put up those kind of numbers in practice in a full game so I’m looking forward to doing it in a regular game but it’s just going to take us some time. Every step is a new adventure for these guys because not many of them have played at this level, it’s a very very very young team.”
(On Malachi Flynn’s game-winning three) – “It was the set we wanted. We wanted to take time off the clock so we ran a set that gave us an opportunity to run a little weave action on the side and Malachi (Flynn) had a great screen, coming off the screen he get have shot the three then. He wants the ball in those situations. I think the fact that he did not play very well at all, I sat him down for a long stretch in the game, a good teaching moment. He comes back on the floor and hits the deep three in the corner and then wants the ball to win the game. We all knew he was going to shoot the ball and once it left his hands we knew it was in because he’s that kind of player that wants to hit big shots in big moments.”
(On how to not fall behind in the first half) – “Let the other coaches coach the first half, I’m going to stay in the locker room, talk to them at halftime and then come out in the second half,” Kent said with a smile. “Maybe that will change our fate, I don’t know.”
Washington State junior forward Robert Franks:
(On coming back from a big deficit multiple times) – “I wouldn’t say that’s our mindset but having done it before in previous games we have confidence in ourselves coming in the second half knowing that we can dig ourselves out of the hole. We don’t prefer to, but we’ve been doing it.”
(On learning from each game) – “Yeah, just like coach Kent said, we have a lot of inexperienced guys at this level right now so every game coming back in or just playing, is a great opportunity for those guys that haven’t played at this level yet and haven’t got that much experience. It’s just going to make us that much better down the road.
St. Joseph’s Head Coach Phil Martelli:
“Obviously we played stretches of really efficient basketball so you have to be disappointed. The kid (Malachi Flynn) made a tough shot but before then our transition defense even on makes wasn’t strong enough. We knew that they would come with the one-three-one, we got a little panicky, we started moving all over the court instead of just settling in.
“You walk out of here shooting 34 three’s, that’s not our game. We have guys that should shoot them and we just kind of indiscriminately started putting the ball in the air. The plus is you get to play tomorrow and the lessoned learned the next time we’ll play back-to-back games would be in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. To lose like that and go home would be crushing.”