PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Washington State coach Ernie Kent acknowledged that his young team played shoddy defense and turned the ball over too often against UC Davis, but Kent did not have to look far to find plenty of encouraging signs in the Cougars' latest victory.
''I'm a guy who tends to look at the positives,'' Kent said after the Cougars raced to a 30-8 lead and downed the Aggies 90-83 Sunday afternoon at Friel Court.
The Cougars (6-6) shot 54.4 percent from the floor, including 57.9 percent on 3-pointers. WSU also outrebounded the Aggies 34-23 and had a 23-12 advantage in assists. That helped make up for 19 turnovers.
DaVonte Lacy led four Cougars in double figures with 22 points. Washington State's balanced attack offset a brilliant performance by UC Davis senior guard Corey Hawkins, who led the Aggies (9-2) with 29 points, six rebounds, six assists and a career-high five steals.
''He looked every bit as good as his father,'' said Kent, referring to former NBA sharpshooter Hersey Hawkins.
The Aggies, who started the day 12th in the nation in field-goal shooting percentage at 50.0, missed 13 of their first 16 shots. UC Davis finished strong in both halves to wind up shooting 55.9 overall and 56.3 on 3-pointers. Both marks are season bests for a WSU opponent, but the Cougars were never in serious trouble after hitting 11 of 19 shots - including 7 of 9 treys - to open up the 30-8 lead after 13 minutes.
''I thought the first 8 to 12, 8 to 14 minutes of this game was as good of basketball as we've played all year long - offensively and defensively,'' Kent said.
Not so for the Aggies, whose 9-1 start was their best since moving up from NCAA Division II to Division I in 2004-05. WSU's points, field-goal shooting percentage and 3-point shooting percentage were all season highs for a UC Davis opponent.
''With a good offensive team like that, we can't play defense like that,'' Hawkins said.
The Aggies had been holding opponents to 61.4 points and 38.3 percent shooting, including 31.6 percent on 3-pointers. Hawkins said strong defensive play ''has been our staple.''
The Cougars are 4-1 at home, thanks largely to an 82.8 scoring average. The Cougars average just 63.9 points away from Pullman, and 71.8 overall.
Josh Hawkinson scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his fourth straight double-double for Washington State. Reserves Que Johnson and Jordan Railey added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
''I think if we all can score like that, we're going to be a really tough team to compete against,'' Hawkinson said.
The Cougars led 46-32 at the half. Hawkins scored 17 points in the first half and finished the day 12 for 22 from the field.
''Anytime someone scores 29 points on you, you should take it personal . but he's a great player, he played really well,'' Lacy said.
UC Davis: Hawkins, who played for Arizona State in the Pac-12 as a freshman, boosted his season scoring average to 20.9. He started the day 16th in the nation at 20.1.
Washington State: Hawkinson is averaging 15.7 points and 10.5 rebounds one year after averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds as a freshman. He was ninth in the nation through Saturday averaging 10.5 rebounds.
The announced crowd of 1,401 was the smallest of the season at WSU. Most students are out of town on holiday break.
UC Davis at Seattle on Monday.
Washington State at Stanford on Friday.