Dec. 25, 2010
HONOLULU - Washington State fell victim to a 15-0 Butler run early in the second half as the Cougars lost to the Bulldogs, 84-68, Saturday in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Washington State (10-2) trailed by just two at the half, before Butler (9-4) turned a three point lead a minute into the half into a 19-point lead with 12:31 to go in the game.
Matt Howard, the tournament's MVP, had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, leading four Bulldogs in double-figures. Shelvin Mack, who was named to the all-tournament team, led Butler with 20 points, adding six rebounds.
WSU representative on the all-tournament team, Klay Thompson, was the lone Cougar in double figures with 31 points (10-for-18 from the field). Thompson set a tournament record with 79 points in WSU's three games. He has appeared on the all-tournament team in all three he has played in as a Cougar.
The Bulldogs shot .500 (28-for-56) from the field, a best by a WSU opponent this season, including .538 (14-for-26) from the field in the second half.
"I thought they shot it really well," WSU head coach Ken Bone said. "Then there were times we just didn't execute our defense. I'd chalk it up again to, I don't want to say lack of effort, but there were times on screens we didn't get through quick enough. A lot of their open shots came off screens."
Washington State and Butler stayed close to even during the first half as the Bulldogs took a two-point, 40-38, lead into halftime. WSU shot .469 (15-for-32) from the field compared to BU's .467 (14-for-30).
Both teams were near the mid 30's in 3-point field goal percentage, while Mack and Thompson kept pace with each other with 15 points apiece in the first half.
The Cougars head to Los Angeles to open Pac-10 play at UCLA (Dec. 29) and USC (Dec. 31). Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion.
"I do like where we are as a team," Bone said. "To win three of those four games is good. We're pretty healthy. We're 10-2, we've played a really good schedule. I think we're well prepared for Pac-10 play and now it's time to get to L.A. and get league play started."