PULLMAN -- Washington State
took on Utah Valley on Wednesday night in a barren Beasley Coliseum but
cruised to a 72-49 victory behind another smothering defensive
performance in front of an announced crowd of 2,023.
Despite the apathetic attendance numbers, the Cougars (2-0)
relentlessly wore down their counterpart, holding the Wolverines (1-2)
in check throughout the game and relied on timely shooting to jump out
to an early lead.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game on a
style="font-weight: bold;">Brock Motum layup at the
of the first half and they would never look back. WSU, much like
they did against Eastern Washington, crisply moved the ball in order to
run through the flow of their offense, resulting in easy baskets and
Motum, who picked up his second foul of the game with 13:54 to go, was
forced to sit with the Cougars leading just 12-7. Over the next
eight minutes, the Cougars bench extended the lead to 31-17 with 5:21
left in the half.
For the game, the WSU bench outscored the Wolverines 23 to 16, led by
style="font-weight: bold;">Dexter Kernich-Drew's
points off the pine.
Behind a flurry of fast breaks and clutch three point shots, the
Cougars went on a 16-2 run over the final 4:16 of the half to head into
the break with a 45-22 lead.
The second half was much of the same for Washington State, holding a
31-point lead with just under four minutes to go while playing mostly
bench players down the stretch.
The Cougars won by 23 points on just 59 possessions, a statistic that
shows just how dominant this performance was. The Wolverines were
held to just 44% from the field and forced into 13 turnovers.
Led by Royce Woolridge
and DaVonte Lacy, who
each recorded a
career-high six assists, WSU moved the ball around well and only had
five turnovers on the night.
Motum (15), Lacy (11), and Mike
(13) joined Kernich-Drew in double figures and
style="font-weight: bold;">D.J. Shelton continued to
team in rebounds with six.
The Cougars shot 51.8% (29-of-56) from the field and out-rebounded Utah
Valley 27 to 23.
It was a masterful performance for a team that was expected to endure
some bumps along the road after losing so many prominent
starters. Although, there have yet to be any ill effects
experienced through the first two games as the Cougars have looked
mighty sharp on both ends of the floor.
They should also be well rested, as no player has played over 30
minutes in either of the games played this season.
In their first road test of the season, the Cougars travel to
Pepperdine at 7 p.m. on Friday before gearing up to take on Kansas in
Kansas City next week.