Led by Brock Motum's 24 points on 13 shots, WSU rode an incredibly efficient offensive performance to a surprisingly comfortable 89-75 victory over San Francisco in the opening round of the CBI on Tuesday.
Outside of a spate of turnovers towards the end of the first half, the Cougars had their way with the Dons, scoring a ridiculous 1.35 points per possession on 66.7 eFG%. Usually that sort of percentage is built on hot outside shooting, but the Cougs did the vast majority of their damage inside, shooting 23 of 35 on twos. (But the 8-for-16 from three didn't hurt, either.)
Perhaps just as key for WSU as the big Aussie was the play of senior Marcus Capers, who was once again fantastically versatile within the offense on his way to 12 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds. In a role he's embraced as of late, Capers controlled the game from the high post. He also was the recipient of some nice feeds for dunks, and even hit a baseline jumper. Really!
No play in the game better exemplified Capers' contributions than when he blocked a jumper at the free throw line then leaked out as the ball found its way into the hands of Mike Ladd, who then found the streaking Capers for a dunk. Capers also did a great job guarding the bigger Angelo Caloiaro, who scored just 15 points.
It's also important to not overlook WSU's 25-for-28 performance at the free throw line, including an astonishing 12-of-14 in the final five minutes. Who knew the boys had it in them?
The defense was pretty lame, as usual -- lots of Cougs losing their guy in both the zone and man-to-man. Fortunately, USF just couldn't shoot all night, including from the free throw line: Perris Blackwell was able to bully his way to 11 attempts, but he could hit just six of them.
All in all, a really nice win for the Cougs, whose per-possession offensive performance was second only to the beatdown they put on fellow WCC foe Santa Clara back in December. If you're going to play in this sort of a postseason tournament, might as well play well, right?
WSU advances to the second round but will have to wait to find out who its opponent will be: The Cougs will face the winner of Wyoming and North Dakota State on Monday, likely in Pullman. If you want to scout the next opponent, too bad -- it's not on TV.