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February 26, 2012After pulling down 42 rebounds against a UW team that ranked sixth in the nation in rebounding, it was free throw shooting that cost the Cougars a victory.
WSU converted on only 17 of 32 free throws, including six of 20 in the second half, as they fell, 59-55, in a game that felt like it was there for the taking.
"In the second half, they made 15 of 19 and we were six of 20, we did what we felt we needed to do," WSU coach Ken Bone said. "We got to the line, which is critical especially a team that shoots a very good percentage- I think we're one of the top two teams in the league in free throw percentage but second half we didn't put them down."
WSU (14-14, 6-10) came into the game second in the conference, shooting 72 percent from the charity stripe. But the Cougs could not extend their lead from the foul line and it eventually cost them the game.
"It was a game that we really thought we could go out and compete and work hard, and that's exactly what we did," Bone said. "I thought our guys competed extremely hard. Some disappointment in our locker room, no doubt about it."
Senior Marcus Capers said he personally was not disappointed with the loss because the Cougs did play a good all-around game.
"If we played soft and we gave up, I would be real disappointed in this loss," Capers said. "Only reason why I'm mad is because we lost- that's just my competitive nature. Other than that, we played pretty good, everyone who came into the game fought and you can't ask for nothing else."
Capers scored 14 points for the Cougs on six of seven shooting from the floor, while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing five assists.
However, Capers biggest impact may have come on the defensive side of the ball, where was matched up at times with UW's second leading scorer, Terrence Ross.
Ross, who almost single-handedly beat WSU in Seattle a few weeks ago, was held to only two points in 21 minutes before he fouled out.
"They have so many weapons," Bone said. "Our guys did a nice job on Ross tonight, but if you take something away from one guy it allows Tony Wroten to drive it a little bit more. When you have that many weapons on the court at one time it's hard to key on too many guys."
Ross also was involved in the highlight of the night for the Cougs, as Brock Motum threw down a thunderous two-handed jam, going right over Ross.
Following the dunk, the Cougs went on a 12-0 run. But UW answered immediately, engineering a 13-0 run as the Huskies tied the game at 47 with 7:41 remaining.
Later, as the clock wore down and WSU trailed it 57-55, the Cougars dialed up a play to try to win it. But Patrick Simon, who came off the bench after sitting the entire game, could not hit from the corner with a 3-point attempt.
"If he was wide open, we told him to go ahead and shoot it," Bone said. "He had a good look. He's a great shooter."
Washington State NEWS