You could feel the electricity of a packed Beasley Coliseum from the opening tip to the final whistle tonight. Though it was a hard fought battle, the Cougars dropped their first game of the season to Kansas State by a final score of 63-58.
Player of the Game: It was easy to see that Klay Thompson was a marked man coming into the contest. The Wildcats extended the pressure on the junior guard and denied him the ball for most of the game. Thompson was still able to lead the Cougars in scoring with 16 points along with contributing five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Play of the Game: After going down 7-2 early in the first half the Cougars made an 8-0 run in the next two minutes. Part of that run involved Marcus Capers showing off his leaping ability while putting down a two-hand slam. The junior was able to steal the ball from Rodney McGruder near midcourt and once he did, the only thing between him and the basket was about 50 feet of hardwood. Capers took three dribbles and jumped from as step inside the free-throw line reenergized the crowd with a dunk.
Stat of the Game: The Achilles heel of this WSU team has been rebounding and it was again tonight. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Cougars 24-14 in the first half and 45-33 at the end of regulation as the Cougars struggled to clean the glass while in a zone defense. Although a -12 rebounding margin is never good, what stings even more is that WSU held the Wildcats to 40 percent from the field, but KSU was able to grab 17 offensive rebounds and extend possessions, scoring 17 second change points.
Turning Point of the Game: The Cougars had the ball with 2:15 left in a 54-54 game. Jacob Pullen was able to steal the ball from Reggie Moore and feed Kelly Curtis for a lay in. Still a one-possession game, the Cougars went for the lead as Thompson and Moore each took unsuccessful 3-point jumpers. KSU followed with a Jamar Samuels jumper out of the timeout to make it a four-point game with 30 seconds left.
Though the Cougars missed a chance at beating a ranked opponent tonight, they may get another shot when they face Gonzaga, Wednesday at Friel Court.
Until Then, Go Cougs,