The Cougars received some strong performances from juniors DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson on their way to beating the Arizona State Sun Devils 78-61. Sometimes it's easy to see why one team loses and another teams wins, and tonight was one of those nights. The glaring statistic that tells the story of the game is shooting percentage; the Cougars finished at 52 percent from the field while the Sun Devils came in at 33 percent.
Player of the Game: Casto showed he was a force to be reckoned with inside from start to finish. Whether it was finesse moves that resulted in a jump hook or the ability to go up strong over a defender and finish, he was successful almost every time he touched the ball. ASU had no answer for the big man who finished with 25 points, five rebounds and four blocks. The 25 points surpassed his previous career high of 19, while four blocks ties his season high.
Honorable Mention: Usually when a player puts up 22 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals he earns player of the game honors. The Cougars were able to move the ball in and around the zone defense very well which allowed Thompson to find gaps along the perimeter where he earned 15 of his points. If he would have dished one more assist and grabbed two more rebounds he would have earned the second triple-double in school history. While I'm sure most people would have loved to see him put up those numbers, I guess we will have to settle with tonight's performance.
Play of the Game: Tonight's play of the game came from...that's right you guessed it...a Marcus Capers dunk. With five minutes left in the first half Klay Thompson stole the ball from Trent Lockett and pushed the ball up to half court where he made a 20-foot bounce pass that hit the slashing Capers in the chest. Capers did the rest from there, taking off from the just inside the key and finishing with a left-handed slam.
Stat of the Game: While the field goal percentages were a key factor in the victory, one stat stood out that WSU fans had not seen in a while, which was 34 points-in-the-paint. For most of the season the Cougars have earned their wins from behind the arc. Tonight was a different story as the team was able to get the ball inside by breaking the zone or moving in transition.
Turning Point of the Game: ASU made a charge to end the first period and bring the WSU lead to 10, at the half. Coming out of the locker room the Sun Devils kept the momentum and narrowed the lead to six points before Thompson put an end to the ASU run by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and extending the Cougar lead to 12 points.
The Cougars will look for the weekend sweep when they take on Arizona, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats came into the weekend ranked 25th in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, but suffered a loss to Washington, Thursday night.
Until Next Time...Go Cougs,