The WSU Cougars welcomed the conference-leading California Golden Bears to Beasley Coliseum this afternoon. The game started slow with the teams trading buckets back-and-forth before Faisal Aden came in with 16:51 left in the half and went on a tear, scoring WSU's next eight points. However, the Bears maintained their lead throughout the first half, at one point leading by as many as 11 before the Cougs managed to reel them back in. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded Cal led by six at 40-34. Returning from the locker room, the Cougs went on a 13-4 run to take the lead by three with 17:27 left to play, but California would respond with a run of its own to go back up, 56-49. The Cougs continued to trail California by low single digits until just under the seven-minute mark when WSU tied the game up for a third time at 62 all. This time the Cougs stuck with the Bears, preventing any large runs and pressured them for the lead. With only 1:32 left to play in the game WSU and Cal were tied at 74-74. The two exchanged missed shots before freshman DaVonte' Lacy hit a three from the corner with only 17 seconds left in the game to give the Cougs one final lead, 77-74. Cal managed one last push, but only got a free throw with two seconds left. After an intentionally missed second free throw, Cal's Jorge Gutierrez threw up one final three that missed off the rim and the Cougs knocked off the conference-leading California Golden Bears 77-75.
Player of the Game: Faisal Aden. Faisal Aden earns back-to-back Player of the Game awards for his impressive performance this week. Coming off the bench just three minutes into this game, Aden made his presence known scoring the Cougs ensuing eight points. After dropping a career high 33 points on Stanford Thursday, Aden made a strong showing against the Bears this afternoon. Aden scored 24 points on the night to lead the game going 9-of-12 from the field and 6-for-7 from the stripe. Also in double digits for the Cougs were Brock Motum (15), DaVonte' Lacy (14), and Abe Lodwick (12).
Play of the Game: Lacy's 3 with 17 seconds left. DaVonte' Lacy made a statement for "Play of the Year" with his clutch 3-pointer from the corner to give the Cougs one last lead. Lacy caught a pass from Reggie Moore in the corner in front of the Cougar bench and rose up for a shot that sunk to the bottom of the net. In addition to nailing the shot, Lacy was also fouled and sent to the line. The potential four-point play electrified the Beasley crowd, and sent a deafening roar through Beasley Coliseum. Lacy did miss the free throw, leaving the potential for Cal to tie it, but they were unable to convert and the Cougs pulled out a victory.
Turning Point: Capers jam for the tie. This game see-sawed back and forth many times. There were seven lead changes and seven ties in the game. It was either team's game with one 2:15 left, but Marcus Capers made it clear the Cougs weren't going down without a fight. Capers got the ball from Reggie Moore and drove hard to the rim. He rose up and threw down a massive dunk to tie the game at 72-72. Capers's dunk got the crowd on their feet and produced a deafening roar that didn't cease until the Cougs walked off the court with a two-point victory over conference-leading California.
Stat of the Game: Bench points. The WSU bench poured in 42 points on the night, while Cal's only managed four. The main contributors to the Cougs bench productivity were Faisal Aden and Abe Lodwick who scored a combined 36 of WSU's bench points. Also adding to the total were D.J. Shelton and Dexter Kernich-Drew with three apiece.
The Cougars have knocked off two-straight conference leaders and are now 3-4 in Pac-12 play and 11-8 overall. WSU returns to the hardwood next Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. PST in a televised event against the Arizona Wildcats (13-7, 4-3) at Tuscan, Ariz. Following the game Thursday, the Cougs will travel to Tempe, Ariz. to face the Arizona State Sundevils (6-13, 2-5) at 2 p.m. PST.
In his latest podcast, Director of Athletics Bill Moos discusses the snow at WSU (check out photo of Martin Stadium from Friday morning), and gives an update on Cougar Athletics, including The Cougar Football Project and the upcoming Night With Cougar Football events.
The WSU Cougars returned to Pullman tonight for the first time in over a month and welcomed the Stanford Cardinal to a frozen Palouse. The Cougs got off to a quick start, leading 10-5 before the Cardinal went on a 13-2 run with 14 minutes left to take a 21-17 lead. During the seven-minute Stanford run, WSU went 1-of-8 from the floor. However, WSU would bounce back, spurred by a pair of free throws and a quick lay up by Faisal Aden that kept the Cougs in the game. The Cardinal kept WSU at bay for the remainder of the half, maintaining a two-point lead entering the locker room, 27-29. The Cougs started the second half slow, allowing Stanford to go on a 8-0 run to extend its lead to 10, but Ken Bone called a quick timeout and the Cougs managed to slow the Cardinal momentum and hold them to around a 10-point lead. The game continued with the Cougars trailing by single digits until Dexter Kernich-Drew hit a three-pointer with 13:10 left in the game that cut Stanford's lead to eight. Kernich-Drew's three spurred a 26-6 run by the Cougs that lasted over six minutes and put WSU up by nine points. Stanford was able to slow the Cougs momentum, holding WSU to around a 10-point lead, but the Cardinal were never able to reel the Cougs back in and WSU cruised to an 81-69 victory.
Player of the Game: Faisal Aden. Faisal Aden earns tonight's Player of the Game award, dropping a career-high 33 points on the Cardinal. Aden shot a perfect 13-of-13 from the line and scored 23 of his 33 points in the second half. Aden shot an impressive .588 from the floor and went 6-of-8 in the second half. In addition, Aden went 3-for-3 from the field and 6-of-6 from the stripe during the Cougs second half 26-6 run.
Play of the Game: Kernich-Drew's three with 13:10 left. Dexter Kernich-Drew earns the accolade for Play of the Game after he put life back into the Beasley crowd. Up until this point, Stanford had maintained around a 10-point lead and the Cougs were beginning to fade, but Kernich-Drew got the ball at the top of the arc and nailed a three that sent the ZZU CRU into a frenzy. Kernich-Drew's three spurred a 26-6 run by the Cougs that gave them a nine-point lead with seven minutes to play.
Turning Point: Back-to-back threes with eight minutes left. The turning point in the game came with 8:37 left to play in the second half. The game was tied at 55 all and everyone in Beasley Coliseum was holding their breath to see if WSU could continue their run and pull away from the Cardinal. DaVonte' Lacy got the ball rolling in the right direction as he hit an open three from beyond the arc to put the Cougs up by three. Reggie Moore followed by draining another three-pointer to extend the WSU lead to six. The Cougs never looked back, extending their lead to 10 before Stanford could pull them in, but the Cougs maintained their lead and finished the game up by 12.
Stat of the Game: Second half field goal percentage. The Cougs shot an incredible .727 from the field in the second half, going 16-of-22 from the field and 19-of-21 from the stripe. Faisal Aden shot lights out for WSU going 13-of-13 from the line (11-of-11 in the second half) and 10-17(6-8 in the second half) from the field. The Cardinal didn't help its cause, shooting 8-of-33 from beyond the arc for the game, while tossing up 19 threes in the second half.
The Cougars are now 2-4 in Pac-12 play and 10-8 overall. They will return to action Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3:05 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum to take on the California Golden Bears (15-4, 6-1). Following the game Saturday the Cougs will travel to Arizona to face the University of Arizona and Arizona State.
Members of the Washington State men's basketball team spent their lunch, Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Mrs. Robinson's third grade classroom at Sunnyside Elementary. The class earned a pizza party with the men's basketball team by winning a competition which involved attending the men's basketball game against Western Oregon Dec. 18 at Beasley Coliseum. Abe Lodwick, Patrick Simon, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Dominic Ballard, Chuks Iroegbu, Marcus Capers, Reggie Moore, D.J. Shelton and Royce Woolridge each attended the pizza party, along with operations assistant Tim Marrion and video assistant Mike Simonson from the coaching staff.
Last week, Director of Athletics Bill Moos received a firsthand look at the progress of The Cougar Football Project, Thursday, Jan. 5. Check out photos from the visit on The Cougar Football Project Facebook page HERE and watch video footage below.