Feb 5, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; Washington State Cougars guard DaVonte Lacy (25) dribbles against Colorado Buffaloes guard Xavier Talton (3) in the second half at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Cougars 68-63. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State (9-15, 2-10 Pac-12 ) got an extraordinary performance from DaVonté Lacy Wednesday night against the visiting Cal Bears (16-8, 7-4 Pac-12).
FINAL: Cal 80 – WSU 76
A balanced attack from Cal proved to be just enough to earn a conference road victory over a Cougar ball club that continues to be one-dimensional.
Lacy put on a offensive exhibition that should have delighted the home crowd, pouring in a career-high 39-points by converting 10 of 20 shot attempts. The fans on hand were supportive and enthusiastic. But just like the WSU offense, there just weren’t enough bodies to go around. Heck, there appeared to be more students in the CUB during the game than inside Beasley Coliseum which is about a 10-minute walk away.
While Lacy was calmly lighting up the scoreboard bombarding the hoop with 3-points shots, D.J. Shelton turned in yet another double-double, his 8th of the season and 6th in Pac-12 play. He fell just one board short of the magic 20-rebound mark with a career-high 19. Shelton was the only other WSU player to reach double-digits scoring with 18-points.
Not only did Cougar fans miss seeing a pair of great performances from Lacy and Shelton, it’s likely they could have provided the edge needed to put this game in the win column.
Washington State forfeited their home court advantage with attendance dropping to an abysmal and embarrassing 1,913, likely a Pac-12 low for this season. Based on what the stands looked like, that was a very generous gate total.
Instead of frantic fans fueling a comeback in the second half, the relatively benign atmosphere allowed Cal Coach Mike Montgomery to easily get his guys back on track when WSU was poised to take control of the contest.
Cal used a 14-2 run near the end of the first half to head into their locker room at halftime with a comfortable 39-30 lead.
The Bears pushed their lead up to 49-39 minutes into the final period of play.
Lacy and Dexter Kernich-Drew combined to knock down a 5 long-range bombs over the next 5-minutes and knot the score at 55-55. The game remained close the rest of the way.
When it comes to going into overtime, WSU has not had much success lately. They are just 2-9 over the last 11 OT games…which leads to questioning the game management of Coach Ken Bone.
As good a player as Lacy is, leaving him in the game for 44 out of 45 minutes may have minimized his impact in overtime.
Though Bone mixed things up again with the starting lineup by inserting Ike Iroegbu at point guard, he chose not to keep the freshman on the floor for much of the game. He also kept Que Johnson, the other starting guard, next to him on the pine for most of the contest. Both players only saw 16-minutes of action Wednesday night.
This Cougar ball club can compete with most of the teams in the Pac-12. That said, they have yet to find a way to turn their consistent strong efforts into wins.
Washington State will hit the court again Saturday when they host Stanford at 4pm on Friel Court in Pullman.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
- Junior DaVonté Lacy led WSU with a career-high 39-points, marking his second career 30-point game and second in the last three games. He tied his career high by making eight 3-pointers, one shy of the school record and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. For the second time in three games, Lacy scored at least 50% of WSU’s points with 51.3% Wednesday night and 53.9% at Colorado back on February 5th.
- WSU tied its season-high with thirteen 3-pointers made in the game. Previously they had thirteen 3-pointers against Colorado (January 8) and TCU (November 24).
- Washington State had its best free throw percentage. 84%, this season when shooting more than three free throws. The Cougars were 21-for-25 from the charity stripe.