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The game that was: WSU 77, California 75

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As usual, here's our quick overview of Washington State's 77-75 upset over California. There isn't nearly as much drama in this post as there was in the final minutes of the game we just watched. Read on anyway.


PLAYER OF THE GAME — Tempted to go with DaVonte Lacy here, but Faisal Aden earned it by making nine of 12 field goals to lead WSU with 24 points. And he didn't attempt a 3-pointer, further establishing the fact that he's much more effective when he's attacking the rim. He was crafty, using spin-moves and floaters to maneuever his way to the basket. He scored a lot of those points against Jorge Gutierrez, too. The Cougars could do without Aden's five turnovers — and he didn't manage an assist in 29 minutes — but regardless, Aden posted two performances this weekend that will almost certainly earn him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.

PLAY OF THE GAME — Lacy said that after he missed a 3-pointer with the game tied 62-62, Charlie Enquist turned to him on the bench and simply told him to make the next one. So he did. Lacy's 3-pointer from the corner will be remembered as one of the highlights of the season, especially if this game helps turn things around the WSU starts putting some more wins together. The shot was the result of a pick-and-roll for Reggie Moore, who passed to Lacy in the corner, right in front of WSU's bench. Gutierrez hammered him, but Lacy still drilled it and sent Beasley into a state of bedlam.

KEY STAT — WSU's bench outscored Cal's 42-4, thanks to Aden's 24 points and 12 points from Abe Lodwick on four 3-pointers. The Bears' subs only played a combined 29 minutes, with Robert Thurman scoring all four of the bench's points.

QUOTABLE — “I think a couple years ago, or even last year, it might have affected us more. I think that’s where you need good leadership. I think our kids have done a nice job of putting that game behind us, even though it’s a big game, we went in, we battled them, we played somme good minutes, they took it to us at the end. I think we turned the page, we came back and we knew what was ahead of us with the two best teams coming in. We had some good practices, and I thought during the course of the week leading up to these two games, I felt like we really came together as a group, and that, look, we’re not throwing in the towel, we’re 1-4, but here’s our chance. We’re playing at home, and it had been a while. So I think our guys were excited to play in front of family, friends, students, get back in our arena and see what we can do and fortunately, it worked out.” — coach Ken Bone, asked about the team's attitude coming off last week's loss to Washington

NEXT UP — Thursday at Arizona, 7:30 p.m. (FSN). The Wildcats (13-7, 4-3) missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and lost to Colorado 64-63 today.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple


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