A comfortable win, but a drop in defense

I wasn't able to get into town early enough last night to catch the basketball game, but I do have internet access in my hotel room. So, I'll go ahead and confirm for you what everyone already knew: The defense wasn't nearly as effective last night. WSU gave up by far their highest defensive efficiency (94.8) and defensive effective field goal percentage (55.3) of the three games so far. (What's efficiency?)

Now, how bad that means the defense was is debateable, because a good shooting night on the part of the other team can make the Cougs' defense look not so good statistically, even when they play pretty well. No defense can take away everything from an opponent, and the Cougars try to take away penetration to make the offense shoot contested shots over the top. From reading the quotes after the game, it sounds like there were a few too many uncontested shots, and I'll be interested to read Grady's recap since he was actually at the game.

The offense looks statistically stellar thanks to a robust 15-for-29 night from 3-point range. The Cougs actually made two fewer baskets from inside the arc than from outside. It worked out last night -- to the tune of 131.0 offensive efficiency, by far the highest of the year. But you can't make a living on that every night. Tony Bennett chalked it up to Sacramento State playing an extreme version of the Cougs' own pack defense, so as long as the players haven't now fallen in love with deep shots at the expense of quality shots in future games, it shouldn't be a problem..


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