Nov. 10, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash.-Coming off the first Sweet 16 appearance in Washington State history, the 2008-09 men's basketball team hit the floor for the first time with a commanding 76-31 win over Lewis-Clark State College Monday night in an exhibition game at Friel Court.
Freshman DeAngelo Casto led the way with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting in his first appearance as a Cougar. Casto, a Spokane native, was one of seven freshmen to score.
"I was pretty comfortable playing the game and digging in with the older guys," Casto said.
Senior Aron Baynes was the only other Coug in double-digit scoring as he registered a double-double in just 15 minutes of action with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Baynes pulled in five rebounds in the first 1:30 before hitting a free throw to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
The next three possessions were the Taylor Rochestie, Klay Thompson show. First, it was the freshman Thompson finding Rochestie in the corner for a 3-pointer. Then, Rochestie assisted Thompson on consecutive 3-pointers from the left wing to give the Cougs a 10-0 lead.
Rochestie finished the half with five assists in 14 minutes. He added another in just one minute of action in the second half for his game-high six assists. As a team the Cougars tallied 20 assists on 30 field goals.
WSU ran out to a 30-4 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. The teams traded baskets before halftime and the Cougs had a 44-15 lead at the break.
The first half saw some impressive performances. Redshirt freshman Abe Lodwick hit all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half, as the Cougars shot 7-for-11 from behind the arc in the half as a team. Casto was perfect as well, going 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line for 11 points.
With a 58-17 lead five minutes into the second half, head coach Tony Bennett started to play with different line-up combinations and let the freshman gain some game experience.
"We stretched our lead out a little bit and I just challenged them to play against the game," Bennett said. "I wanted them to really establish what matters to us."
The Cougars were able to establish a defensive presence. LCSC shot just 21 percent from the field and did not have a 3-pointer.
The Cougars open their season Saturday against NCAA Tournament participant Mississippi Valley State at 7:30 p.m. at Friel Court. The Cougs beat the Delta Devils 71-26 last season in Spokane as part of the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Classic.