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WSU basketball cruises to win in final exhibition

A cozy crowd at Bohler Gym watched the Cougs dominate in their final tune-up.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The WSU Cougars had no problems in their second and final game of the exhibition season, defeating Pacific University 97-70 before 2,427 at Bohler Gym on Friday.

Junior college transfer Renard Suggs led all scorers with 18 points in 20 minutes off the bench, shooting 7-of-12 overall and 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He was one of four scorers in double figures, as freshmen Viont'e Daniels (16 points) and Robert Franks (13) and junior Josh Hawkinson (12) joined him. Daniels and Franks also came off the bench, and Franks led the team in rebounding with 7.

The game was really never close against the Division III Boxers, as WSU jumped out to 20-8 lead in the early minutes, finished the first half with a 10-0 run to lead 53-30 at the break, and opened the second half on an 18-6 run to stretch the lead to 34.

Part of WSU playing in Bohler Gym was honoring George Raveling, who coached in Pullman for more than a decade and led the Cougars to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.

"It certainly allowed me an opportunity to revisit a lot of pleasant memories during my 11 years here at Washington State," Raveling said after the game. "I think perhaps maybe the most unique part of the visit has been the change in the physical structures on campus and particularly the athletic department. It's just stunning what has transpired over the last 10, 15, 20 years."

It's always tough to draw substantial conclusions from exhibition games, but here are a couple of thoughts.

Kent went with the same starting five in both games. It appears juco transfer Charles Callison is your starting point guard, with Ike Iroegbu now playing off the ball (although he's led the team in assists in both games). Que Johnson has started both games on the wing, while Junior Longrus and Josh Hawkinson have started up front. If you put stock in such things, that's four juniors and a senior (Longrus).

Now, Longrus' limitations are well known -- although he plays with a high degree of energy that allows him to be a good positional defender and pick up a number of offensive rebounds, he's undersized for his skill set. Will he continue to start when ballyhooed juco transfer Conor Clifford has recovered from his knee injury?

It appears the Cougars might really need Clifford's size; rebounding has been bad in both games, with WSU picking up just 67 percent of defensive rebounds despite having a distinct height advantage. That number should be more like 75 percent. The Cougs have been pretty good on their own glass, though, grabbing 35 percent of their misses.

On the plus side, WSU has generated quite a few turnovers these games, a stated goal of Kent's in his effort to improve the defense.

The Cougars begin the season on Friday with a home game against Northern Arizona that will tip at 5:30 p.m. PT and be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.