Coping with the absence of point guard Reggie Moore has been a chore in itself for the Washington State men’s basketball team.
So when the Cougars’ primary inside presence, DeAngelo Casto, sat out in Friday night’s 66-55 win at Fresno State, an even larger void was evident.
With the 6-foot-8 banger from Spokane out with a sprained ankle sustained in Wednesday’s practice, Washington State had just one point from its bench – uno.
Still, though, junior college transfer Faisal Aden and gunner Klay Thompson were enough to boost the short-handed Cougs in their first true road game of the year. Aden scored 28 points and Thompson added 22 in the not-so-pretty triumph that saw FSU with a 32-31 halftime edge.
Six-foot-eleven Brock Motum was enough of a boost for WSU (4-0), plugging up the middle to score 11 points and bring down 11 rebounds.
Fresno State (1-3) led 44-37 with 14:55 remaining in the second half but wouldn’t score for the next 9:10.
LINKS: I didn’t staff this game (I’ll be at few away games), so here are game stories by beat writers who were in Fresno, Calif., including Vince Grippi of the Spokesman-Review and Marek Warszawksi of the Fresno Bee. Per usual, CougFan and Seattle P-I blogger Tim Hunt recap.
Quotes by Washington State coach Ken Bone and guard Faisal Aden
“We were pretty stagnant. Couldn’t really get into a sync offensively. In the second half we settled down a little bit and kept our composure when things didn’t go well.” – Bone
“Those rims were hard. You hit the iron and that thing’s coming off. But it’s an area we need to get better at.” Bone on being outrebounded (41-34) for third straight game.
“Patrick didn’t shoot as well as he usually does…but that’s not going to happen very often. He didn’t make shots but he did a good job tonight” – Bone on freshman wing Patrick Simon, who didn’t reach the scoring column.
“Yeah, we’ll take a look at it when we get back to Pullman and go from there.” – Bone on Casto’s foot, that was in a cast.
“We had to face a lot of adversity. First away game and didn’t have everyone. (We) had to come together a little bit.” – Aden on dealing with two starters out in first road game of the year.
“We kind of missed him a lil’ bit, but I think our guys filled in well.” – Aden on Casto’s sitting out.
“Once the game was really close my instincts came in. We had to get a W.” – Aden on scoring 18 of his game-high 28 points in the second half.
“We didn’t do a lot of things well. We made a lot of mistakes. It was an ugly win, but to play like that and get a win is also a plus. We’ll learn from this, come back stronger.” – Aden’s overall thoughts on the game.
“A lot of it had to do with us being focused and aware of where their shooters were. They only have a couple guys that are proven 3-point shooters.” – Bone on holding FSU scoreless for over nine minutes in the second half.”