The Apple Cup decided to kick off a couple days earlier than expected as the Cougars were taken down by former Washington Husky player Elston Turner who hit a “go-ahead” three pointer with 2 seconds left in the game which gave Texas A&M a 55-54 lead and the Aggies 4th victory of the season. The Cougars had this game won, but a couple of key missed free throws at the end of the game kept Texas A&M in the game and of course the Aggies executed.
In the first half both teams struggled to score and finished the half with a combined score of 37 points (WSU 21, A&M 16). Senior forward Brock Motum lead the charge for the Cougars in the first half with 8 points while Texas A&M’s main scorer in the first half was Jordan Green with 3 points.
Both teams found their offense in the second half as they were both trading shots from behind the arc. We rarely saw WSU or Texas A&M go to the post inside, due to the fact that WSU lacks height and A&M was dealing with a WSU zone. Brock Motum continued to carry the offense for WSU adding seven more points in the second half and finished with 5 total rebounds. Redshirt sophomore guard Royce Woolridge had 6 points, but hit a key three pointer down the stretch, and continues to improve his ability at point guard each game. Sophomore Dexter Kernich-Drew led the team in scoring and had his best game of the season so far with 16 points (13 points in the second half). Drew was also 4-7 from behind the three point line.
What killed the Cougars chances of winning this game besides the free throws was rebounding. The Cougars had a total of 19 rebounds while Texas A&M finished the game with 32 rebounds. When your best player in Brock Motum finishes the game with 5 rebounds and he’s your main forward is a problem. There were too many second chance opportunities for the Aggies which was provided by the poor rebounding ability of the Cougars.
The Cougars now fall to 2-3 on the season and we’ll head back to Pullman this Saturday to face Arkansas Pine-Bluff University at 6:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. This tournament in Kansas City, Mo. that the Cougars competed in was a great learning experience for this young team and will give them a boost that will help them succeed this year.
–Evan Baron (Follow Me On Twitter: @BaselineBaron09)