February 14, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - Five Cougars scored in double digits and Washington State put an end to its eight game-losing streak with an 80-68 victory over Oregon State Saturday before 4,026 fans at Friel Court.
Washington State (9-15 overall, 2-11 Pacific-10), picked up its second Pacific-10 win of the season against the Beavers (12-13 overall, 2-11 Pacific-10) to move into a tie for ninth place with OSU.
The Cougars were without leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Daniel who suffered a left ankle sprain / bone bruise in Thursday night's 64-63 loss to Oregon. Daniel's replacement, Kojo Mensah-Bonsu, made his first Pac-10 start. Mensah-Bonsu scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds blocked three shots and had three steals. Kab Kazadi also scored 16 points and Steve Slotemaker matched his career-high with 15 points. OSU's Deaundra Tanner led all scorers with 17 points.
A 3-point basket by Kazadi at 15:23 of the first half put the Cougars ahead for good and started a 16-6 run. The Cougars forced four Beaver turnovers during the stretch, the final a steal and driving dunk by Slotemaker at 8:25 which put WSU ahead 24-12.
OSU's Corey Benjamin, who entered the game as the Pac-10's leading scoring, was hindered by an abdominal strain. He played just five first-half minutes and missed both of his 3-point attempts.
Jerome Vaden picked up the slack scoring nine of his 16 points in the first 20 minutes. He hit a pair of back-to-back baskets on consecutive possessions as the Beavers closed to within 31-27 at the break.
Vaden's 3-pointer at 16:11 of the second half brought the Beavers as close as 37-34. The Cougars countered with an 11-3 run capped by another breakaway dunk by Slotemaker.
WSU's last field goal came from Kazadi layup with 4:47 to go. The Cougars converted 10 of their final 12 free throws over the remainder of the game.
The Cougars shot 50 percent from the field for the first time since they beat the Beavers in Corvallis Jan. 15.
Quotes from Washington State head coach Kevin Eastman - "There are more things that I'm pleased with than just the win . Equally as important (as the victory) was the simple fact that we made some free throws towards the end when they (OSU Beavers) were playing the foul game. I thought we defended pretty well the entire game and our effort level was outstanding. I think our players who did play knew exactly what was before them. And simply put, we had to play a little bit harder than Oregon State did and I thought we accomplished that. There were some concerns during the course of the game that they seemed in my mind to hit every three in the second half. We didn't falter down the end at all and we've been in so many games that went down to the very last possessions and this one could have got to that, but our players didn't allow it to (happen)."
Quotes from Oregon State head coach Eddie Payne - "We were not able to apply the pressure that we wanted on both ends (of the floor). Kevin (Eastman) had a lot of players do a lot of nice things for them today."
Quotes from Washington State junior Kojo Mensah-Bonsu - "It's been a long time coming (the victory). We didn't think one individual could make up for Carlos' performance so we tried to do it as a unit and it worked.
Quotes from Washington State junior Steve Slotemaker - "It's good to win, but the reality is we don't have many wins. He (Carlos) is pretty vocal. At practice (Friday) he was telling us to work hard. He's been our vocal leader this year and last year. He just maintained his role there and did it again during the game. He was encouraging to me. Our defense was good throughout the game. We just made the breaks today and Oregon State didn't."