The Washington State Cougars defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles, 88-69, on Saturday night at Friel Court. WSU was never challenged in this game, as the Eagles were ice cold from the beginning.
WSU pushed out to a 30-point lead in the second half, and Ken Bone was able to give the backups some time. Brett Boese came in the game in the second half and buried his first-ever college shot, a three-pointer from the corner in front of the Cougar bench.
The newcomers were impressive. Royce Woolridge showed some true point guard ability, with solid handles and excellent passes. Junior Longrus was active on the glass and displayed some athleticism. The freshman looks to have some good size and strength and might be a solid backup for Shelton and Motum this season.
Mike Ladd may have shown the most improvement. The senior is no longer battling a wrist injury, and he was aggressive. He crashed the boards, drove to the basket, and his jumper had much more arc than a season ago. Ladd may just be the second-best player on the team.
D.J. Shelton made the play of the game when he found himself with the ball at the top of the key and the shot-clock winding down early in the second half. Shelton crossed over and drove the lane to throw down a thunderous one-handed dunk.
Brock Motum was his awesome self. He made some impressive moves, including a power drive and spin for a bucket and beautiful spin and floater. Motum can score in just about every way possible. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Eastern hit a few threes against WSU's bench to make the score look a lot closer. Against WSU's primary rotation, this wasn't even close.
Lots of encouraging things from this game, and we'll have more on it later. For now, WSU wins their opener and looks a lot better than the 10th place prediction at which they were predicted.