Defensive breakdowns hurt Washington State men in loss at Utah

“Everything, to me, came back to what went on at the defensive end of the floor,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said after an 82-69 setback. “When we can get stops and get out and run, we’re very good. When we don’t, we become a stagnant offensive team.”

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledges he doesn’t have NBA-ready players on the roster, but knows his team can be successful when everyone contributes.

The Utes got that Sunday night and are back to .500 in Pac-12 play after a rough first half of January.

Tyler Rawson scored 22 points and knocked down a career-high six three-pointers as Utah beat Washington State 82-69.

Rawson went 6 for 7 on threes after not scoring in double digits in the previous three games for the Utes (12-7 overall, 4-4 Pac-12).

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Malachi Flynn from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma led the Cougars (9-10, 1-6) with 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and Robert Franks, who is from Vancouver, Wash., added 18. No other Cougar had more than six points.

“I thought there were several defensive breakdowns,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said. “We tried to do a couple of different things to offset that, but our focus and attention to detail on that end of the floor was not there tonight and they made us pay.

“Everything, to me, came back to what went on at the defensive end of the floor. When we can get stops and get out and run, we’re very good. When we don’t, we become a stagnant offensive team.”

Flynn’s analysis wouldn’t cause much argument.

“The point of the game is to score,” he said. “When you can’t score, it’s kind of hard to keep up with the other team.”

Utah’s bench, led by 15 points from Gabe Bealer and 14 from Sedrick Barefield, outscored WSU’s 38-23.

“That’s the definition, the essence of a team,” Krystkowiak said. “The whole thing is…

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