The WSU basketball team finally took the court at Beasley tonight to open the season with an easy 89-49 exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State College. Reggie Moore had a quiet game, spending his time feeding the scoring threats around him instead of shouldering the load himself. DeAngelo Casto had his usual hard-nosed game, scoring at will from inside about three feet. Klay Thompson and Faisal Aden were a deadly combination on the wings, combining to score nearly half the Cougars 89 points.
Did they look good? Sure, at times they did. Keep in mind, however, that this was a dog-tired LCSC team. Last night, they were at, I believe, Montana
State. Tonight they tripped up to Pullman and will head across the border to take on the Idaho Vandals tomorrow night. You'll have to excuse them for putting up less of a fight.
We did get a chance to get a look at the newcomers, see some familiar faces and check out how these guys play together. The goal for the game, like any preseason game, was to make it out without any injuries. Head coach Ken Bone also wanted to see the Cougs stay focused for 40 minutes and was pleased that they did, in his opinion. With the game out of hand in the second half, Washington State continued to grind away, hustling on defense and doing the little things that matter.
After the jump, notes and stats
- Faisel Aden is here. Head coach Ken Bone wasn't lying when he said Aden could score. Aden looks like he's never met a jumper he doesn't like and showed confidence right out of the gate. He led all scorers with 22 points on 9-13 shooting and was 4-6 from three-point range. He also added an assist, rebound and steal. Wait til you see this kid play.
- Looking at Reggie Moore's stat line, it may seem like he had a bad game. 0-3 from the floor, no points and no rebounds. Bone went out of his way to praise Moore after the game, though, noting the sophomore point guard let the game come to him and ran the team effectively. Moore finished with seven assists, no turnovers and three steals. With the weapons surrounding him now, he's not going to have to shoulder the scoring load most of the time. We want to see exactly what we saw tonight: Moore distributing the ball and forcing turnovers.
- DeAngelo Casto was a force in the low-post against an overmatched and undersized LCSC team. Casto finished with 18 points, four rebounds, an assist and a block. When the guards penetrated, Casto was there for the easy dish. His knee is healthy and he looks better than ever.
- Klay Thompson is still Klay Thompson. The highlight of the game? His first-ever "Capers" -- what I've decided to nickname a tip-dunk. Thompson was pleased with himself for gathering the rebound and flushing it with two-hands, all in one smooth motion. He finished the night with 21 points, one assist, two steals and a team-high two blocks. The best stat on his line? Seven rebounds. He also missed a free throw.
- I get the feeling the freshmen were nervous today. Dre Winston was never a factor, getting beat on the defensive end and looking shaky running the offense. Patrick Simon missed a few open shots, something Bone said he never does. Bone said Simon is an amazing shooter, but was just off tonight. WSU needs Winston to step-in as the backup point guard to spell Moore, and the coaching staff feels he's more than ready for that role.
- Brock Motum played 16 minutes, had 11 points and one rebound while spelling Casto. Motum has clearly added weight to his frame and will likely see plenty of time at the 5 spot. Steven Bjornstad has just begun to practice, only working out about 45 minutes a day, so the Aussie is needed for now. I, for one, welcome our new Motum-lords.
- Marcus Capers hit a 19-foot jumper. I repeat, Marcus Capers hit a 19 foot jumper. He was 2-3 on the day with four points and four rebounds. Bone said he's been shooting well in practice, so let's see if it carries over to games.
- LCSC shot 30.6 percent from the field for the game. In both the first and second half, the Cougs kept them off the board for the first four minutes. In the second half, they didn't hit a field goal until about seven minutes into the second half and only made five over the last 20 minutes. Not a bad defensive effort, but again this was a tired team.
- The starters came back in for WSU with about six minutes to go in the second half and the game well in hand. The reason? Bone wanted to get some work in running a 2-3 zone. It looked shaky, at best. Washington State ran man-to-man the rest of the game, switching on guard screens and hedging screens by forwards. The result of it all was 16 LCSC turnovers, 11 of which were steals by WSU. It's not Bennett defense, but this is the goal. Pressure and force turnovers.