FROM PULLMAN — We're back with our game-in-review after Washington State's tough 76-72 loss to Arizona. Read on.
(Our game story is posted, and you can read it here.)
PLAYER OF THE GAME — Missed free throws aside, it's still Brock Motum. He scored 28 points despite making only 10 of his18 free-throw attempts, and it's becoming increasingly clear that nobody in this league can guard him 1-on-1. Angelo Chol looked completely lost against him in the post. Sure, Motum will tell you that it doesn't matter how many he scored, because the Cougars lost. And sure, there's plenty of truth to that. But he deserves recognition for continuing to dominate despite the whole world knowing he's going to touch the ball on ever possession.
PLAY OF THE GAME — Arizona made its share of plays down the stretch, including two big buckets inside by Jesse Perry. But the play everyone will be talking about Friday morning will be Motum's missed free throws — not just the two out of three with 21 seconds left, but the four straight he missed prior to that. Still, as coach Ken Bone said afterward, and as Motum said himself, there's no reason to lament that he was in that position. If you're WSU, you have to like your chances with Motum shooting that many free throws down the stretch. He just didn't make them tonight. Sometimes, it's that simple.
KEY STAT — The number that jumps out the most to me is the attendance, which was announced at 3,616 tonight. Maybe the 6 p.m. start time had something to do with that, but for a late-season home game against a quality program like Arizona, that is an awfully small number.
QUOTABLE — “Brock is one of the top two or three guys we would want at the line. You just look at the stats and what he’s done over the course of 25 games up to tonight, and anybody could tell you that hey, he’s the guy that you want shooting them. Tonight, he didn’t make those. Like I said, I hope the same situation comes up again Saturday or next week because we as a team really believe in Brock. We know he’s a very good free throw shooter. Next time he’s in that situation, he’ll do well.” — coach Ken Bone
NEXT UP — Saturday vs. Arizona State, 5 p.m. (Root). The Sun Devils (8-17, 4-9) are down big to Washington as I write this. ASU beat the Cougars, 71-67, in Tempe three weeks ago.