Washington State football began the day with a road victory over favored Arizona. After grabbing dinner and doing some serious relaxing, it was time to watch Cougar men’s hoops defend Friel Court.
It may have just been a few minutes before midnight, but WSU managed a second win on the day thanks to improved play on the hardwood.
FINAL: WSU 84 – LAMAR 64
No question WSU head coach Ken Bone saw improvement from his team in their second game of this season.
When it comes to talent, the Cougs held the advantage in every aspect of this contest with one exception. Lamar certainly matched WSU in coaching. Pat Knight, son of Hall of Fame coach Bobby Knight, brings an impressive résumé to the Cardinal basketball program and the charge to rebuild from the ground floor up.
The Cougs used their physical attributes to significant advantage over the scrappy team from Beaumont, TX. They won the battle under the boards by outrebounding Lamar 38-29 with a significant edge in offensive rebounds of 12-5.
For the second consecutive game, junior guard DaVonté Lacy looks to be both the leader and most improved player wearing a WSU uniform. He led all scorers with 21-points and exhibited Pac-12 quality play at both ends of the court.
Iroegbu impressed with his quickness and confidence, finishing the game with 13-points, a pair of assists and a couple of steals. He appears to have a tremendous upside.
Coach Bone still must find an answer at point guard if this team is to be competitive in Pac-12 play. The Cougs were able to score at will when driving to the bucket for a couple of reasons. Lamar didn’t have much size. Specifically, they had just one young man at 6-9 with the rest of the roster 6-5 and under. Also, the Cardinals are a young team which showed up repeatedly when they were on defense.
The physical advantage WSU held made one-on-one play a mismatch all night long. Their assortment of layups and dunks weren’t the result of implementing Bone’s motion offense, rather the upshot of greater size and quickness.
On court leadership was absent midway through the second half when Lamar put together a 14-2 run to close to within 4-points. The Cougs were able to re-establish dominance by taking advantage of their individual skills.
There is a reason WSU has lesser known programs early on in the schedule. The goal is to incorporate new faces, new schemes and come together as a team on the court. Coach Bone and his staff have plenty of room for improvement in all three of those areas.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many teams like Lamar left on the schedule. The next three opponents for the Cougs are No. 15 Gonzaga, TCU and Butler.
Washington State has four days to prepare for their first real test of the year. They will travel up the road to Spokane for the 2013 edition of their rivalry with nationally ranked Gonzaga. That’s not much time to transition from potential to performance. But given the intensity both teams have brought to his matchup over the years, it should be a fun game to watch.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
- WSU shot 83.3% (15-for-18) from the free throw line.
- In just his second game with the Cougs, redshirt junior Jordan Railey had a career-high 6 rebounds in just 11 minutes.
- After going scoreless in WSU’s season opener, Dexter Kernich-Drew finished with 15 points….he was 6-for-13 from the field. Kernich-Drew tied his career-high with 4 assists.
- Redshirt freshman Que Johnson had his first points as a Cougar, finishing with 8-points, 1-steal and 1-assist in 19-minutes.
- Sophomore Brett Boese has made at least one 3-pointer in both games this season.He had a pair last night and has 3 this season after having 5 made 3-pointers all of last year.