Cougars beat Lamar, move to 2-0

(The Spokesman-Review)

Washington State improved to 2-0 on the young season with an 84-64 men’s basketball victory over Lamar on Saturday night at Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougars turned away Lamar’s second-half rally to post the non-conference win. Junior guard DaVonte Lacy connected on four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points. Junior wing Dexter Kernich-Drew had 15 points and seven rebounds and freshman guard Ike Iroegbu added 13 points.

WSU, which visits Gonzaga on Thursday, outrebounded the shorter Cardinals 38-29.

Lamar, which finished 3-28 last year in head coach Pat Knight’s second season, dropped to 0-3, all three losses by double figures. The Cardinals’ Nimrod Hilliard and Donovan Ross, who came in averaging a combined 35.5 points, were limited to 24 points. Amos Wilson led Lamar with 16 points.

Lamar trailed by as many as 18 early in the second half, but a 13-0 run cut WSU’s lead to 55-51 with 9:05 remaining. The Cougars responded by scoring 12 of the next 14 points. Freshman guard Que Johnson had four points, Iroegbu and Lacy each had three and Kernich-Drew had a steal and dunk in the run.

Lacy’s 3-pointer extended WSU’s lead to 20 with 4:30 remaining.

Lamar scored the game’s first basket before the Cougars rattled off the next seven points. WSU’s lead grew to 15-8 on Iroegbu’s 3-pointer. The Cardinal regained the lead at 16-15 on a basket by Ross but the Cougars outscored the Cardinals 26-7 over the next 9:30 to take control.

Freshman forward Josh Hawkinson’s two free throws boosted WSU’s lead to 28-18 with 6:40 left. A 13-2 Cougar run, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore forward Brett Boese, made it an 18-point advantage.

WSU settled for a 43-27 halftime lead, thanks in part to 22 bench points and a 24-13 rebounding edge. The Cougars made just 38.9 percent of their shots, but they had only three turnovers to Lamar’s eight.

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