I wasn’t able to staff the Cougars’ ill-inspired win on Friday night at the Arena in Spokane (I had myriad phoners to take back at the office) I was, however, able to put together some notebook itemsFirst, check out the Spokesman’s Vince Grippi’s game story here.
WSU- TexPanAm notes
- In the press conference after Washington State’s 81-59 win over Gonzaga on Wednesday, second-year coach Ken Bone felt the ensuing 48 hours would be the telltale of how his team handles the emotional rout.
So when Washington State trailed the cute, conferenceless program from the most southern point of the western United States on Friday night, it wasn’t an ideal response.
Texas Pan-American — located on the Texas/Mexico border in Edinburg– actually outhustled Washington State from the onset. The Broncs led the chilly-shooting Cougs 19-7 with just over six minutes to go in the first half.
At the point, Washington State was just 5-for-19 shooting.
- WSU would eventually put together a nice run to close the half with a 36-24 halftime lead, but the boost was from an unlikely source.
Brock Motum, the 6-foot-10 reserve center, had seven points in a nice stretch and even hit a 3. He finished with 13 and seven rebounds.
- Reggie Moore, who played 32 minutes (his longest of the season after returning with an injured wrist), could feel his club’s spotty intensity. Having a small, unenthused crowd of 4,382 didn’t help matters much.
“We just didn’t come out with the energy we normally have, probably because this last week we had just been so up and so excited, you kind of need to come down,” More said . “This is probably a result of that. It is hard and of course (to play in front of fewer fans) every player likes to play when the crowd is rocking, that’s a lot more fun, but we shouldn’t let that set our team back at all.
“If we want to be a great team, we need to come out there and compete, no matter if there are zero people in the gym.”
- The Cougars do have finals next week, though. “I don’t know if finals were on their minds,” Bone said. “This last week can be very draining. That’s three games in seven nights — and finals are next week.”
- While the win wasn’t especially ideal for Bone it was a career milestone as he clinched his 100th win as NCAA Div. 1 head coach. Most of his wins were tallied at Portland State, where he’s spent three of his five years at college’s highest level.
- Texas-PA, which ranks 316th in the nation in rebounding, was still able edge the Cougars in both teams’ struggling category. The Bronc had a 34-33 edge on the boards — a sad stat considering the Texas school started four players 6-foot-3 or shorter.
“They were the underdogs,” said Motum, who owered over the opposition. “They were going to do everything they could to win.”
- For the most part, Washington State’s defense was solid. Washington State is now holding opponents to 55 points a contest. Not bad for a team thought to have thrown defense by the wayside when Bone was handed the keys. Marcus Capers, who held Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen and Gonzaga’s Steven Gray to a comined 13 points, held the Broncs’ leading scorer to just six points.
- Capers also hit the first three-pointer of his collegiate career.
- Oh, and about Klay Thompson. The PAC-10′s leading scorer (21.6 ppg) scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half but was benched by Bone for heaving shots the coach considered premature.
“Tonight it didn’t make a big difference, but sooner or later, down the road, it will make a big difference,” Bone said.
- Junior guard Faisal Aden is becoming quite the luxury as a 6th man. Aden, who started when Moore was out, pumped in 20 points off the bench to lead all scorers.
- Interestingly, Texas-PanAm assistant coach Nick Bennett is former WSU coach Tony Bennett’s cousin. He’s the son of Dick Bennett’s brother, Jack