The Cougar men’s basketball team defeated Saint Martin’s University 62-50 in an exhibition game last night at Beasley Coliseum. The win wasn’t pretty, but this was a great learning experience for WSU. For most of the first half, the Saints were out playing WSU by hitting the three ball and out-rebounding them. Senior forward Brock Motum would lead the Cougars on a 6-0 on run to tie the game up at 11. The Saints would continue to not go away, and made it a close game throughout the first half. Saints guard, Roger O’Neil would hit a three pointer with 30 seconds left in the first half to tie the game. WSU guard Royce Woolridge would make an acrobatic layup to put the Cougars up 28-26 going into halftime.
WSU looked more comfortable playing together in the second half, as Woolridge was driving and attacking the basket with more confidence which translated to key free throw makes. Senior Brock Motum would continue to play his style of basketball and finished the game with 21 points and 5 rebounds. St. Martin’s wasn’t going down without a fight and was still in the game until the Cougars went on a 10-0 run with about 15 minutes left in the game. The Saints would make it a 5 point game near the 5 minute mark, but WSU would soon put the game officially out of reach by going on a 7-0 run.
Overall the Cougars still have a long way to go before they can become competitive in the Pac-12, but are showing some bright signs. This is a very young Cougars team, many players are still adjusting to playing with one another. This includes WSU guard Royce Woolridge who sat out last season because he transferred from Kansas University. Woolridge is more of a shooting guard, but now with the dismissal of Reggie Moore, Woolridge is worked as a point guard. Last night you could tell he looked uncomfortable playing the point in the first half, but got it together in second half and finished the game with 10 points and 3 assists.
The major area of concern for the Cougars is rebounding. Last night WSU struggled on the boards and allowed too many offensive rebounds. When your best forward only grabs 5 rebounds, you know your team is in trouble. With the lack of height WSU posses’, will hurt them this season.
Besides rebounding, the Cougars shot the ball decently; shooting 56% in the second half thanks to Mike Ladd and DJ Shelton. This team is still a work in progress but is heading in the right direction and will get better each game. Look for an improved WSU men’s basketball team this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum, as the Cougars will face Eastern Washington University.
Here are a couple videos from last night’s post game press conference:
-Evan Baron (Follow me on twitter @BaselineBaron09)