Washington State was able to make enough free throws down the stretch to hold off California and salvage a split weekend series with a 75-71 win at Friel Court, Saturday. Both the Cougars and Golden Bears came out looking sluggish after suffering tough losses earlier in the week, but after the halftime break the quality of play improved as players found their shooting strokes late in the game.
Player of the Game: Brock Motum.Though Motum was not in the starting lineup this afternoon, he saw a lot of action after Abe Lodwick was in foul trouble early. In 27 minutes of action, Motum led the Cougars with a career-high 19 points, and tied the team high with five rebounds. The versatile WSU forward matched the strength and aggressiveness of Cal's big men and was able to finish close to the rim or get to the foul line where he made seven of his nine attempts.
Turning Point of the Game: Getting three the old fashioned way. The Cougars were up by one with three minutes left in the game until DeAngelo Casto took the ball inside, went up strong, and finished through contact and converted on the 3-point play. The play gave WSU some breathing room and marked the fifth foul for Mark Sanders-Frison, the Bears' most powerful inside presence.
After a layup attempt by Cal's Richard Solomon swirled around and out, the Cougars got the ball in the hands of Brock Motum, who drove the baseline and finished the layup despite a hard foul from Jeff Powers. After he connected from the free-throw line the Cougars had a seven point lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Play of the Game: Casto's Coast-to-Coast. With WSU trailing by one with 4:30 left in the game, Casto was able to poke away an errant pass by the Golden Bears and gained possession near half court. He took a few dribbles down the left sideline and had the option to give the ball up to both Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson who were streaking down the middle of the court. But with Cal defenders trailing the play, Casto had every intention of finishing what he had started, and threw down a two-handed jam.
Stat of the Game: The Fantastic Five. For the first time this season, only five Cougars contributed to the team's 75 total points, each of whom scored in double figures. Brock Motum led with 19 points and was followed by Aden (18), Casto (14), Thompson (13), and Moore (11). The two leading scorers, Motum and Aden, both came off the bench to tally 37 bench points, the most in a Pac-10 game this season.
The Cougars will be back in action, Thursday, Feb. 17 at Arizona. The game is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on FSN.
Until Next Time...Go Cougs!