The exhibition season is now officially over in Pullman. It didn’t last long. One game. The games start for real – and count – Friday against Mississippi Valley State, though they way its performed against WSU the past two years make it almost like another exhibition. Anyone, WSU won the real one, 73-51 over Lewis-Clark State College. Read on for notes and the unedited version of our game story.
• Before we go any further, don’t forget to check out our pregame notes. There is some information about a new basketball recruit. … The story follows, but before we get there, some things that didn’t fit. … Michael Harthun may be the sophomore who will benefit the most from another year of maturity. The sophomore looked comfortable on the court, hit 5 of 6 shots, all in the rhythm of the offense, and had 10 points off the bench. … Sophomore Abe Lodwick started at the power forward spot and hit his first shot, a 3-pointer. That was his only points … Freshman Brock Motum replaced him, played the same amount of minutes (12) and finished with two points and one rebound. … Lone senior Nik Koprivica played 11 minutes, had five points – 11 Cougars scored – and two rebounds. … Marcus Capers was second on the Cougs with eight rebounds. … Tanner McIntosh was LC State’s leading rebounder with nine. … The official stats only have WSU with six fastbreak points, but I had them with 13. … The Cougars had 11 steals, including three by Reggie Moore. … Redshirt freshman James Watson did not suit up after getting hit in the jaw by a Casto elbow in practice. Watson was diagnosed with a concussion, Bone said, and had to sit. … Walk-on Ben Loewen from Mead High hit his only shot, a short jumper. … Republic High’s Derek Gianukakis struggled, hitting just 1 of 7 shots and finished with three points and four rebounds. … Bone mentioned how much he appreciated the student support for an exhibition game. Most of the area between the baskets was full and more students – including a dozen or more football players – were scattered around the arena.
• Now here’s the story …
PULLMAN – The 3,476 in Beasley Coliseum on Monday night may have been drawn by curiosity.
Count among them Washington State University’s new head basketball coach Ken Bone.
“Very curious,” Bone said after his Cougars ran away from Lewis-Clark State College, 73-51, in WSU’s lone exhibition contest this season and Bone’s debut as WSU’s coach.
“I thought a few of the guys would be a little more nervous than they appeared to be,” Bone said of his young team. “I thought we were for a few minutes early in the game, but we settled down and did some good things.”
“I was pretty nervous at first, to be honest,” said freshman Reggie Moore, who started at point guard alongside four sophomores. “It felt good once I got the ball in my hands.”
And he showed he knows what to do with it.
Playing 23 minutes, Moore had eight assists, including two for fast break dunks – something new for the Cougar faithful to digest – added four rebounds and scored six points, four on two more breakaway dunks.
The biggest recipient of Moore’s largesse, as he probably will be much of the season, was Klay Thompson.
The sophomore showed off his refined ball-handling skills – he was fouled three times taking the ball to the rim – and his usual outside stroke – he was 6 of 9, including 4 of 4 beyond the arc, for a game-high 19 points.
“We shared the ball,” Bone said when asked what he liked. “Eighteen assists, and eight by your starting point guard, is very good.
“We defended them. Obviously they didn’t shoot a high percentage … but part of that was the good defensive job our kids did.”
That defense – the Warriors shot 25.8 percent, including 4 of 19 from beyond the arc – was keyed by DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers.
Casto, the 6-foot-8 sophomore post, led everyone with 11 rebounds, three blocks and chipped in 14 points, hitting 6 of 10 shots, though none of the makes were from farther than 5 feet.
“We’re able to run the floor a little bit,” said Casto, who was on the receiving end of a Moore alley-oop pass early in the second half, giving WSU a 50-27 lead. “And we’ve got guards who are willing to share the ball. … I’m going to run it as hard as I can every time.”
Capers started and took on the responsibility of guarding Markus Monroe, the Warriors (2-2) leading scoring threat.
Monroe missed his first three shots – as WSU broke out to a 13-0 lead – and finished 3 of 11 for 8 points. Daniel Williams led LC State with 15.
If there was one chink in the Cougars’ armor, it was rebounding, a known problem area. The Warriors grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and lost the battle of the boards just 41-37.
“We need to work on it,” Bone said of the rebounding, “whether they got 16, 20 or 10. But when the other team misses (46) shots, they are going to get a lot of offensive rebounds.”
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back in the morning. Until then …