What was learned about WSU BB after loss to UW?


We discovered a few things about the 2012-13 edition of WSU men’s hoops (9-5)  from the results of their Pac-12 opener Saturday evening in Beasley Coliseum.

The most obvious and indisputable point made coming out of the contest was the fact the Cougs are 0-1 in conference play after losing 68-63 to UW.

Rival Washington escaped Pullman with a win though it appeared the Dawgs were destined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Therein lies another lesson learned about Coach Ken Bone’s squad.

Facing a massive deficit early in the game, Washington State rallied to make a game of it. Definitely give an assist to the Zzu Cru who turned out in force (7,711 in attendance) to support the Cougars despite the fact school wasn’t in session.

"“I do appreciate the fact we dug ourselves that big of a hole  yet  at halftime we’re down 7-points. I think to our guys credit, they didn’t quit.” – Coach Ken Bone on falling behind 21-4 midway through the first half"

Make no mistake, WSU was ready to play a complete 40-minutes of Pac-12 basketball Saturday.

This season the Cougs have and likely will continue to struggle offensively. Their lone weapon when running half-court plays is senior Brock Motum. Limit Motum and WSU will scramble to even get off good shots, let alone score. Husky Coach Lorenzo Romar was not going to allow Motum to make a difference on the scoreboard and his gameplan proved to be the difference.

"“They did a great job just denying (Brock Motum) the ball. We tried throwing over the top. We tried sealing. We tried a few other things that we’re going to have to improve prior to playing them again or anyone else who takes away the high post.” – Coach Bone"

Stifling defense held Motum to just 4-points in the first half and a subpar 15 for the game.

Guards Royce Woolridge and Mike Ladd are talented players. Neither have proven to be effective as point guards which leaves the Cougar offense without a guy who runs the show. Washington State looked best on offense coming out of timeouts after Coach Bone suggested set plays.

Lacking a true point guard, WSU looked most effective when pushing the ball upcourt.

"“We always want to push it (upcourt) to see if we have an advantage. It’s a lot easier to score in those situations than 5-on-5. We’re always looking for those opportunities.” – Coach Bone"

One vision which came through clear to anyone viewing the game, both of these clubs have a lot of work yet to accomplish if they are to be successful in conference play with an eye to the post-season.

Though many Pac-12 teams have improved from last season even Arizona, arguably the best in conference, has yet to hit their stride. Therein rests the hopes for Washington State. Hard work which reaps continued improvement is critical. Given the chemistry on this roster and obvious connection between coaches and players, don’t write this squad off as second tier in a conference that appears to be second tier.

"“I love the way our guys competed, even when we were not playing well early in the game. We kept scraping and trying to do the right things as a team. We’re not going to give up and I know the staff is not going to give up on these guys. It’s a great group of kids.  We love working with them. They like working together. We’ll just keep going.” – Coach Bone"



Washington State Notes:
· Mike Ladd had a WSU-high 16 points…he’s scored 15 or more points in 3 of the last 5 games.
· Will DiIorio made a career-high 3 3-pointers…he previously had made just one career 3-pointer in his 2 and a half year-WSU career…was 1-for-2 from 3-point in his career coming into the game, was 3-for-4 in Saturday’s game.
· DiIorio finished with a career-high 9 points…his previous high of 7 points came against Sacramento State, Nov. 30, 2010.
· Brock Motum finished with 15 points, 11 of them in the second half…he’s scored at least 14 points in all 14 games this season.
· Four of WSU’s five losses this season have come by 5 points or less, a total of 10 points.
· WSU lost its conference opener for the fourth-straight season and seventh time in 8 seasons…the Cougars drop to 16-29 in conference openers since the formation of the Pacific-8 Conference prior to the 1968-69 season.
· The Cougars have lost the last four meetings with the Huskies.