Washington State 60, Idaho State 41
For the majority of the game against Pittsburgh, the Cougs just didn't look like themselves. Defensive lapses, turnovers on offense, and a total lack of ability to get to the foul line.
Tonight, the Cougs we know and love, or at least the Cougs from the first four games, returned.
How'd they do it? By dominating every aspect of the game against Idaho State. Some of it was the opposition, but a lot of it was the Cougars getting their groove back.
They outrebounded the Bengals 32-23. They not only got to the line, but made the most of it with a 13 for 17 evening at the charity stripe. Aron Baynes only had four shooting attempts, but still managed to control the paint with 11 points, 3 blocks and 8 rebounds of his own.
This game was not as close as the final score indicates. After a slow start and a scoreboard frozen at 16-9, the Cougars closed the first half on a 14-6 run. Then kept the momentum flowing right on through to the second half, where WSU played superb defense and solid offense throughout.
The only letdown for WSU in this one was at the end where the reserves matched up evenly with the Idaho State squad. We got our first look at Fabian Boeke, who spent a lot of time in the post but missed his two shots, including a shot for three. He looks a little unrefined out there, but he's only a sophomore and still has a lot of potential. Remember too that he's still coming back from injury.
Mike Harthun also came back, from his three-game suspension, to play nine minutes. Tony showed a lot of faith in him tonight - let's hope Harthun makes the most of it, and is ready to play hard on the court. Because if he does, at least in my opinion, he has the chance to improve more than anyone else on the floor this year. There's tremendous talent here, he just needs to be disciplined and let the game come to him.
Taylor Rochestie is back as well - 5 assists, 1 turnover and 9 points. And to think he actually had us worried for a second.
Player of the Game - Klay Thompson. Game-high 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting (2 of 4 from three), with 2 rebounds, 2 assists and zero turnovers. Klay played one of the best games of his young career - efficient on offense, and playing great defense on Amorrow Morgan, ISU's leading scorer coming in (Morgan finished 3 for 10 from the floor).
Play of the Game - Charlie Enquist's turnaround jumper that banked in off the glass, drawing a foul in the process. Don't sleep on Enquist. There's a Robbie Cowgill/Caleb Forrest-type quality to him that the coaches, and now the fans, are really starting to appreciate. He finished with six points on 3 for 3 shooting. Two offensive boards as well. How about we find this kid some more minutes?