PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Portland State was one of the few NCAA Division I basketball teams that offered Josh Hawkinson a scholarship. Sunday, Hawkinson provided the Vikings with a painful reminder how dynamic a player they lost to Washington State.
Hawkinson, coming off a poor performance against No. 13 Gonzaga in WSU's only loss, led all players with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the Cougars' 91-67 rout of Portland State.
''He was the best player on the floor,'' summed up Portland State coach Tyler Geving.
''Last game was one of my worst games ever,'' Hawkinson said. ''I kind of let my team down defensively.''
Hawkinson, a double-double machine the past two seasons, had just four points and six rebounds against Gonzaga. Against the Vikings he sank 10 of 11 shots, including all eight attempts in the first half.
''I didn't know if he'd be this good,'' Geving admitted.
''It was important to get Josh back on his game,'' WSU coach Ernie Kent said. ''I sent him a text after the Gonzaga game and just talked about toughness and talked about maybe it was my fault not calling his number more (for shots) to get him a better rhythm in the game.''
Hawkinson played just 23 minutes, the most of any WSU starter.
''He kicked our butt today,'' Geving said. ''He set the tone for them. I thought he was really good.''
The points for and allowed were season bests for the Cougars (5-1) and season worsts for the Vikings (3-4).
''Tough one,'' Geving said. ''Give a lot of credit to them.''
Arizona State graduate transfer Calaen Robinson, one of 12 transfers on the Portland State roster, led the Vikings with 19 points. Isaiah Pineiro added 14 off the bench. Cameron Forte, who had been leading the Vikings with 21.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, was limited to nine points and four rebounds.
The Cougars shot 53.2 percent from the floor and held Portland State to 41 percent. The Vikings hit just 15.4 percent of their 3-pointers, compared to 38.1 for the Cougars before 1,806 spectators.
''We challenged them (the Cougars) to make some necessary adjustments after the Gonzaga game,'' Kent said. ''Those adjustments were finishing better in transition, particularly when you have 2-on-1, 3-on-2, because we felt lik ewe left so many plays on the floor that last game. And just be a little bit tougher defensively.''
Washington State, much bigger than the Vikings inside, outrebounded PSU 40-30 and had a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint. Hawkinson led the way down low, and he sank his only 3-point attempt.
''If someone is hot, coach wants us to keep going to that person, and Josh was that person,'' Iroegbu said.
''We got off to a great start,'' Kent said. ''We were great defensively in the first half and we really hit a point in that game where we really clicked offensively as well, too.''
Portland State: The Vikings fell to 5-50 all-time against Pac-12 Conference teams, including 0-8 against Washington State.
Washington State: The Cougars are 3-0 against Big Sky Conference teams this season, having opened the season with wins over Northern Arizona and Idaho State.
HOME SWEET HOME
The combined record of the five teams the Cougars have defeated is 8-29. Gonzaga is 5-2. WSU's first road game comes up Thursday against Idaho, located 8 miles from Pullman.
Portland State: The Vikings visit Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Saturday.
Washington State: The Cougars visit Idaho on Thursday.