Nov 21, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone looks on during a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs beat Cougars 90-74. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State men’s basketball continued their struggles at the offensive end of the court Sunday afternoon. They wasted much of the first half taking bad shots and missing, taking good shots and missing, then turning the ball over to a well-coached TCU ball club.
FINAL: TCU 64 – WSU 62
That said, the Cougs kept their heads in the game from beginning to end for Coach Ken Bone.
WSU dropped to 2-2 on the young season while the Horned Frogs evened their mark at 2-2.
TCU is led by a familiar face to Pac-12 basketball fans. Former Stanford coach Trent Johnson is in his second season in Ft. Worth. True to his résumé, Johnson has recruited some excellent talent to coach up. He has just two seniors on the roster, yet they played WSU tough enough to earn a “W”.
Coach Bone clearly remains looking for both a starting five and effective rotation. No matter who he had on the floor for the first 15-minutes of the game, it wasn’t working.
And it’s the same scenario that’s played out in the prior three games.
Until WSU can prove they have guys who can knock down an outside shot teams are going to use a zone defense against them…which works to stifle the motion offense Bone likes to run.
When WSU was on defense in the first half, well, they weren’t playing much defense. Horned Frog players drove to the hoop with ease the entire half. They made the Cougs pay dearly for repeated mental lapses and converted 14 of their 21 shots from the field.
Because of anemic shooting, 26.7% from the field, Washington State trailed at halftime 36-25. The margin could have been larger for TCU, but the Cougs did start to click a little minutes before intermission.
Whatever Ken Bone said to his troops in the locker room, it worked. His squad came out firing and changed the complexion of the game from blowout to entertaining.
WSU chipped away at the lead by finding the range from behind the arc.
Once they began knocking down treys, led by junior DaVonté Lacy, TCU was forced to switch to man-to-man defense. The Cougs were 8-16 in the second half from downtown. Dexter Kernich-Drew contributed to the run for a come-from-behind win hitting some critical 3’s from the corner.
It was “Game On” down the stretch.
The score was basically knotted for the final few minutes of the game with neither club able to take control of things.
In the closing seconds, TCU gained a 2-point advantage on a pair of free throws to earn the win.
As good as Ike Iroegbu looked the previous two games, he took a step back in this one in terms of running the offense. The true freshman was a contrast of confidence and ineffectiveness. It just wasn’t his best performance.
WSU will have a few days to work on shoring up their inability to slow down opponents driving to the rack and sharpen their outside shooting.
The Cougs travel to Orlando, FL, for the Old Spice Classic where they will play Butler in the first round on Thursday at 11am on ESPN2. The two teams have a common opponent in Lamar with similar results. Butler handled Lamar easily by a winning margin of 89-58 in their first game of the season. WSU beat Lamar 84-64 for their second win.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
- DaVonté Lacy continued his streak of seven-straight games with double-figure points and all four this season, leading the team with 18 points. He was 5-for-12 from 3-point range and has made at least three 3-pointers in each of the last three games.
- Royce Woolridge finished with 13 points, reaching double figures for the first time this season and his 3-assists also tied a season high.
- Dexter Kernich-Drew scored in double figures for the third time this season with 12 points, all from 3-point range. He tied his career high with 4 3-pointers made going 4-7 from behind the arc
- D.J. Shelton had a season-high and was one shy of his career high with 11-rebounds. DJ was one point shy of his second career double-double tallying 9-points.
- WSU lost at Beasley Coliseum in the month of November for the first time in school history. That ended a streak of 48-straight November games in Pullman won by the Cougs.