It may not have been the prettiest game of the season, but it was exactly what Ken Bone wanted. It was a victory. And those, on the road, have been hard to come by for Washington State since Pac-10 play started. Though, at times, it didn't seem like a road game. For more on that and other things, including our game story, read on.
• Everyone from Reggie Moore to DeAngelo Casto to Ken Bone commented on the rather large, and loud contingent of Cougar fans in Gill Coliseum on Saturday night. There was even a "go" "Cougs" chant at one point (though the go was drowned out by a sucks after a while). "That has to be heartbreaking to hear if this is your home court," Moore said. "I know if I was at Beasley and I heard some other chant, I would be like 'c'mon guys.' " ... That was Moore all night Saturday, saying "c'mon guys." Before the game he called the starters over – which included Brock Motum for Abe Lodwick, a change Bone said was made because Motum is so basketball bright he felt he was the right fit against Oregon State – and exhorted them. A couple hours later, as WSU came out of another huddle – which included freshman Patrick Simon as Klay Thompson and Marcus Capers had fouled out – to attack OSU's end-of-game pressure, Moore called everyone together again and vocally got them going. "Coach has always told me he wants me to be a leader," Moore said. "That's what I am to these guys. For some reason they listen to me, I don't know why." Then he laughed. "But it's cool. I just wanted them to understand how important it was to win this game." ... And it was important. Crucial. Maybe season-saving. And though WSU was in foul trouble from the opening tip, though the Cougars struggled against Oregon State's 1-3-1 zone late – most of the game OSU played 2-3, prompting Moore to say "That 1-3-1, it's hard. I don't know why they didn't play that from the get-go. It's hard and you've got to be strong with the ball in that situation." – and though Thompson had his worst scoring night of the year, WSU found a way to win. Asked how, Moore said: "We just willed it out the way. We got to the free throw line. That big man DeAngelo was amazing tonight. And it was just a team effort, we're a team." ... Oregon State helped, with poor free throw shooting allowing WSU to build a 16-point lead in the first half and some mental errors, including not fouling until too late, helping the Cougars overcome their own poor decision making in the final 3:50, when they almost coughed up a 10-point lead. "We needed everybody to contribute in any way they could," Bone said. "We talked about that before the game, that every single guy who gets out there better compete, lay it on the floor." That they did. ... Here's my game story from tonight.
• That's all for tonight. We'll be back in the morning as usual. Until then ...