FROM PULLMAN — Mike Ladd's absence was killer for Washington State on Wednesday, as the Cougars fell to Oregon State 67-66 at Beasley Coliseum. Here's our usual recap.
PLAYER OF THE GAME — DaVonte Lacy did what he could to get WSU back in the game after the Cougars trailed by 15 points early in the second half. Lacy made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-best 27 points, doing his best to shoot the Cougars back into the lead. He nearly did. Perhaps most impressive were his 13 consecutive points during WSU's initial comeback that kept things from gettiing out of hand following the Cougars' flurry of turnovers against OSU's trapping pressure.
PLAY OF THE GAME — Keeping Oregon State off the offensive glass was an issue all game for the Cougars, and it was an o-board that proved most crucial in the final minute. Ahmad Starks missed a jumper with 39 seconds left and OSU clinging to a 1-point lead, but Roberto Nelson grabbed the offensive rebound, made the putback and was fouled with 37 seconds left. A rebound there would have given WSU a chance to take its first lead of the second half. Instead, Nelson gave OSU a 3-point lead (he missed the free throw) and changed the complexion of the final 35 seconds.
STAT OF THE GAME — OSU's 12 offensive rebounds were big. But the key sequence tonight was early in the second half when WSU committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions against OSU's trap defense. As Lacy pointed out afterward, trying to pass around a player as tall and long as Eric Moreland is particularly difficult when you're also being trapped by another player. Those turnovers led to a 10-0 OSU run, and it was an uphill struggle for WSU from that point forward.
QUOTABLE — “We were getting shots and making shots but it was like we were either scoring or we were turning it over, and you’ve got to play better basketball than that on the offensive end to win these type of games.” — coach Ken Bone on WSU's start to the second half
UP NEXT — A 4 p.m. game on Saturday against Oregon, which beat Washington 65-52 on Wednesday. The Cougars lost to the Ducks, 68-61, in Eugene on Jan. 23.