PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Four the fourth time this season, Washington State forced more than 20 turnovers against their opponent.
The Cougars' defensive effort helped lead them to a 70-56 victory over UC Riverside Sunday afternoon, marking their third victory in a row for the first time this season.
"That's just what we do," said Washington State Head Coach Kyle Smith. "We have some good quickness on defense and we got off to a good start in both halves."
CJ Elleby scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and had six rebounds and Jeff Pollard added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars. Aljaz Kunc also had 13 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Washington State (6-4) led the game almost the entire way, forced 23 turnovers for 24 points to help get the Cougars to a win, despite losing the rebounding battle 33-31 and the battle in the paint 30-28.
UC Riverside (7-4) couldn't take care of the ball down the stretch and shot only 8 of 13 from the free throw line. Angus McWilliams lead the way for the Highlanders with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. George Willborn III added 11 points for the Highlanders.
"I thought our guys competed for 40 minutes, but our execution was bad turning the ball over 23 times," said UC Riverside Head Coach David Patrick. "We haven't done that all years. Kudos to Washington State for their pressure. I thought we competed, but we just did a bad job of taking care of the basketball."
UC Riverside: After a four-game winning streak, the Highlanders have gone 1-3.
Washington State: The Cougars are on a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. They have three more non-conference games before the start of Pac-12 play.
UC Riverside: The Highlanders host Northern Arizona on Thursday.
Washington State: The Cougars host Florida A&M on Thursday.