Nov. 18, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University men's basketball team held its opponent under 35 points for the second-straight game as the Cougars defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 55-33, Tuesday, in the first game of the 2008 Legends Classic's Pullman Regional Round at Friel Court.
"We were a little sluggish offensively," WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett said. "They were a little more patient and physical than Mississippi Valley State. I told our guys at halftime, `your defense has to hold them.' I think we had a little bit of trouble on the glass, but the second half we came out and played well."
The Cougars (2-0) held the Knights (0-2) to just 21.6 percent shooting from the field (11-for-51), including nine percent from beyond the 3-point arc (1-for-11). WSU blocked eight of FDU's shots, marking its second-consecutive eight-block performance of the season. Last year the Cougars' game high for blocks was eight.
Junior Nikola Koprivica led the Cougars with 10 points, while adding two assists, three steals and four rebounds. The Belgrade, Serbia native was the only WSU player in double-figures. Klay Thompson added nine points and three blocked shots, while Caleb Forrest and Aron Baynes chipped in eight points apiece.
Sean Baptiste scored a team-high 10 points for the Knights, coming one rebound short of a double-double with nine boards. As a team FDU registered just one assist.
The Cougars scored first in the game and after a 2-2 tie two and a half minutes into the game, exploded to a 17-5 lead with 9:35 left in the first half. At the half WSU held a 26-15 advantage. WSU came out strong to start the second half with a 15-2 run in the first seven minutes, holding a 43-17 lead.
Despite a 7-0 FDU run toward the end of the game, the Cougars went on to a 55-33 victory.
"I think Coach really challenged us to come out the right way," WSU senior Taylor Rochestie said. "In the first half we had some times where we kind of went up and down, up and down. It was important for us to establish the right mentality in the second half. We wanted to come out and make it tougher on them to score."
WSU will be back in action Friday as it hosts Sacramento State, Friday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at Friel Court.