When Washington State beat rival Washington last Saturday in DaVonte Lacy's first game back from injury, one might have wondered if that was a flash in the pan or a sign of things to come. After WSU's performance in a 68-63 loss to Colorado on Wednesday, that answer may still be up in the air.
If anything, we do know that WSU will be a much tougher out the rest of the way simply with the presence of its leading scorer in the lineup.
Lacy was huge for the Cougs, scoring a career-high 34 points. But much of what WSU did well to beat Washington didn't happen against the Buffaloes.
The Cougars' success against the Huskies was predicated on taking care of the basketball and attacking the basket, but WSU did neither of those well in Boulder. Washington State turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 12 free throws.
But Wazzu was still in the game at halftime thanks to some hot shooting from Lacy and good halfcourt defense. After hitting a pair of 3-pointers early in the second half, Lacy went on a cold stretch and took WSU's offense with him. Meanwhile, Colorado's Askia Booker was getting to the rim at will and pushing the ball in transition to get his team some easy buckets.
Suddenly, Colorado's offense was looking like it did in Spokane when Spencer Dinwiddie was at the helm, and WSU couldn't match the efficiency as Colorado build a 19-point lead.
Lacy would amp up his aggressiveness and 3s would start falling for the Cougs. WSU finished 13 of 27 from beyond the arc, and 3s were key to a WSU run that made it a closer game down the stretch. But Lacy's impressive performance wasn't enough to overcome the poor play from the rest of the team, and the Cougars could not get within one possession until 2.1 seconds left.
Freshman Ike Iroegbu quietly had a solid game, scoring 10 points and dishing out six assists while taking playing time from a struggling Royce Woolridge.
If WSU had received a little more from D.J. Shelton (just 5 points) or Que Johnson (just 8 points after missing his first 7 shots) it might have been able to steal a game on the road. Instead, the Cougs fall to 2-8 on the Pac-12 season.