Hey Coug fans welcome back to the Crimson ZZU. Washington State notched its second conference win to even its record at 2-2 with a 77-63 victory over Oregon tonight. After struggling from the field early, the Cougars were able to find a rhythm and pull away late in the first half.
Player of the Game: Marcus Capers came up big for the Cougars tonight, not only as an instrumental ball handler against the Oregon press but as force in the lane as well. The junior out of Winter Haven, Fla., finished just shy of a double-double with 13 points and a team high nine rebounds, four of which were on the offensive end. When the team's jump shots were not going down, Capers was able to get inside and either finish with authority or get to the free throw line where he was 5-for-6 on the night. He was his normal self on the defensive end, playing a big roll in the Ducks' 34 percent shooting clip and showing off his hang time with a monstrous block that may very well give Garrett Sim nightmares on his plane ride back to Eugene.
Play of the Game: It is only fitting that Capers be a part of the play of the game tonight, which came with five minutes left in the first half. DeAngelo Casto was working down low on an Oregon defender and put up a seven-foot turnaround jumper that bounced high off the back of the rim. Capers came flying in from the baseline, met the ball at its peak and came down with a two handed flush that got the crowd on their feet.
Turning Point: During the first 12 minutes of the game the Cougars were shooting under 37 percent from the field and had never led in the game. After the eight-minute media timeout Reggie Moore kicked the team into gear by scoring seven consecutive points while the Ducks remained scoreless. That was the start of a Cougar 14-2 run in a four minute period. Similar to the Oregon State game, Thursday, the Cougars excelled by converting high percentage shots and getting to the free throw line where they had success all night.
Stat of the Game: The Cougars made 86 percent of their free throws tonight, going 18-for-21 from the charity stripe. This is a new development for the team which struggled from the line early in the year. Since the start of Pac-10 play, WSU has shot at least 80 percent in each of its four games, combining for 63-of-75 (84 percent) during that stretch. This is a stark comparison to the nonconference schedule where the team never reached the 80 percent mark in any of its 13 games. Every coach and fan knows close games are decided at the free-throw line, so this is a promising revelation as the Cougars continue into Pac-10 play and potentially the postseason.
WSU will look to keep the winning streak alive as it heads to the Bay area to take on California, Thursday, followed by a trip to Stanford, Saturday.
Until Next Time...Go Cougs!