Washington State jumped out to an early lead on the Oklahoma Sooners, but a series of mostly unforced turnovers doomed the Cougars in the last thirty minutes of the game. After taking a 40-38 halftime lead on a 60-foot Marcus Capers heave, WSU was only able to muster 19 points in the second half.
As with the game against Portland, Brock Motum got off to a hot start but was unable to do much more down the stretch. Motum hit on his first three attempts, then finished 2/7 with four turnovers (as listed on ESPN, I'm not sure if they count offensive fouls on there). Faisal Aden continued to fuel the argument that he should be spending more time on the bench, making many bad passes and taking his usual assortment of ill-advised shots. Aden finished with 12 points on 16 possessions used. That means he was worth 0.75 points per possession. Not good.
Reggie Moore also struggled to hold on to the ball, turning the ball over six times himself. Moore was often trying to create with drives to the basket but was unable to make much happen. He finished taking only three shots from the field and just three assists. WSU absolutely needs more than that from him if they are going to be competitive.
As a team, Washington State turned the ball over on about 34% of their possessions. They were giving the ball away every third time they came down the court. Not many teams can overcome that. It was especially painful because the Cougs were not making up for their deficiencies in other areas by getting to the free throw line, as they had in the previous two games. WSU shot only 11 free throws for a free throw rate of 22.9. That is well below their season average and the national average.
Rebounding was a concern heading into the this game, and it turned about to be a somewhat of a bright spot for WSU. While Oklahoma was still grabbing offensive boards at a rate in the mid-30s, it could have been much, much worse. Motum deserves some credit for that, he is greatly improved on the defensive glass and was able to gather several tough boards.
This game is especially frustrating because WSU was really able to have their way with the Oklahoma defense when they weren't giving the ball up. Wazzu posted a 53.1 eFG% and controlled the inside of the arc early in the game. If they hadn't been throwing the ball away so often, they would have surely been able to find good looks.
WSU was burned once again by outside shooters. The Sooners knocked down 9 of 19 three-point attempts. The Cougs had many defensive lapses in the second half that left OU wide open. It was just an all-around terrible half of basketball by Washington State.
DaVonte Lacy had his worst game yet as a Coug and failed to reach double figures for the first time. He struggled with his shot, hitting only 2 of 8 attempts and partnered with Moore for perhaps one of the worst traps in the history of basketball. The OU guard easily split them and drove to the basket for a layup and-one. Of course, Lacy's drive and one handed slam in the first half was awesome and Coug fans look forward to seeing more of that.
Just have to mention again that Marcus Capers, who struggles on everything but two-handed dunks, hit a 60-foot shot. Too bad the game couldn't have ended after that.
Washington State won't get much time to dwell on the loss. They are back at it tomorrow against a tough New Mexico team who lost to Santa Clara in overtime. The loser between WSU-UNM will be relegated to the tournament's "7th place game," which is the only game that will not be televised. After tonight's turnover-fest, many Coug fans might not mind that.
The Cougars and Lobos will tip-off at 6:30 tomorrow night on ESPNU.