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The game that was: UCLA 63, WSU 60


FROM PULLMAN — You can read our game story from UCLA's 63-60 win over WSU on the link. Read on for our usual game in review.

PLAYER OF THE GAME — Brock Motum deserves a nod for continuing to carry his team. But the player who made the most difference in this game was UCLA center Josh Smith. He made 8-of-9 from the field, scoring 19 points in just 22 minutes. I thought the Cougars did an OK job of getting creative with their defense — Mike Ladd and Marcus Capers fronted him quite a bit in WSU's zone, and that seemed to be effective — but when Smith caught the ball on the block, it was game over. He's simply too big. And he clogged up the paint late in the game to prevent WSU from getting to the rim — though I know there's at least some sentiment on the Cougars side that he got away with a little too much contact, even if he did foul out.

PLAY OF THE GAME — Hard to pick one today, but we'll go with Abe Lodwick's missed 3-pointer with 1:27 to play. That's not meant to single out Lodwick. It simply illustrates the Cougars' offensive struggles down the stretch. Had Lodwick's 3-point attempt fallen, the Cougars would have cut UCLA's lead to 58-57 and things would have been much more interesting.

KEY STAT — An easy one. UCLA had 18 points off 15 WSU turnovers. The Cougars scored just three points off UCLA's 10 turnovers. And as coach Ken Bone pointed out afterward, it just seemed that WSU's turnovers were more costly today than they usually are. Too many breakaway buckets for UCLA.

QUOTABLE — “That’s on me. I’m the head coach. Twenty-three games into the year, we should not be as careless with the ball as we were today.” — Bone, addressing the turnovers

NEXT UP — The Cougars head back out on the road for a 7 p.m. game Thursday at Oregon State. The Beavers (15-8, 5-6) beat Utah 76-58 on Saturday.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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