Washington State’s Carlos Daniel understated the obvious Saturday when he announced that the 1996-97 edition of Cougar basketball isn’t about to go Hollywood anytime soon.
“We’re not going to be a glamour team,” the 6-foot-7 junior forward said after scoring 21 points in a 94-83 exhibition win over Brewster Heights Packing. “We just have to go out and work harder than anyone else. We’ve got to do the things that glamour teams don’t like to do.”
Things like make the open jump shot, get on the floor after loose balls, capture the important rebounds and defend like dogs.
With the exception of the defensive effort, the Cougars did most of those against Brewster, a thrown-together band of former college players that resembled a WSU alumni team.
But once the regular season kicks off, it’s unlikely they will get as many wide-open looks at the basket - or as many uncontested rebounds - as they did against former Cougars Tony Harris, Harold Wright and Ryan Topper.
As expected, Daniel and senior guard Isaac Fontaine, who scored a team-high 23 points, shouldered most of the offensive load. Senior forward Tavares Mack and freshman Chris Crosby, a deadly 6-7 perimeter shooter, each added 12, but none of the other seven players who played scored more than six.
Still, second-year coach Kevin Eastman did not seem as concerned about finding scoring help for Fontaine and Daniel as he did about finding some defensive stoppers.
“I thought we were far too passive defensively early in the game,” he said, “but some of that might have had to do with the young kids we started.”
Eastman started three freshmen: point guard Blake Pengelly, swingman Beau Archibald and Crosby. They were joined by sophomore Steve Slotemaker and Daniel.
“We gave some young guys a chance to play and get over the starting jitters,” he explained.
As a result, the Cougars had nobody capable of containing former Seattle University standout Corey Lewis or Harris in the early going.
Lewis scored 20 points in the first 10 minutes as Brewster sprinted to a 28-15 lead. But Fontaine, in a rare appearance off the bench, scored a pair of buckets to ignite a 19-4 run that put the Cougars ahead for good with 4 minutes left in the first half.
Lewis finished with a game-high 26 points and Harris, who played all 40 minutes, added 21.
The Cougars led by as many as 24 points with less than 8 minutes left, but let Brewster pull close with some late ragged play that showed their lack of experience.
“Get your headlines ready early,” Eastman told reporters after the game. “We’re gonna take some hits.”
Of the 11 Cougars who played, four were first-year freshmen and two were sophomores. Junior-college transfer Rodrigo de la Fuente did not play because of an ankle sprain and will probably not be available for the season opener Saturday at noon against Boise State at Friel Court, Eastman said.
WSU 94, Brewster Heights 83
BREWSTER HEIGHTS (83) Wright 4-11 1-1 11, Lewis 8-12 10-12 26, Amos 1-2 2-2 4, Harris 5-13 8-10 21, McMahon 2-8 0-2 5, Loos 2-9 5-6 10, Topper 0-2 0-0 0, Wiltjer 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 24-61 28-35 83.
WASHINGTON STATE (93) Daniel 9-14 3-3 21, Crosby 4-8 0-0 12, Slotemaker 2-2 0-0 4, Archibald 3-8 0-0 6, Pengelly 3-6 0-0 6, Hutchens 1-4 1-2 2, Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Fontaine 9-15 1-3 23, Johnson 2-5 2-2 6, Mack 6-10 0-0 12, Mott 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 39-76 7-12 84.
Halftime-Washington State 46, Brewster Heights 38. 3-point goals-Brewster Heights 7-24 (Harris 3-7, Wright 2-5, McMahon 1-4, Loos 1-6, Topper 0-2), Washington State 9-22 (Crosby 4-6, Fontaine 4-7, Hutchens 1-3, Jackson 0-1, Archibald 0-2, Pengelly 0-3). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Brewster Heights 31 (Lewis 11), Washington State 49 (Crosby 9). Assists-Brewster Heights 15 (McMahon 8), Washington State 20 (Pengelly, Fontaine 4). Total fouls-Brewster Heights 18, Washington State 22. Technicals-None. A-1,792.
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