January 16, 1998 in Sports

Cougs Find New Way To Win With Daniel Silent, New Stars Step Up To Carry WSU Past Osu

By The Spokesman-Review

This one defied all logic, and not just because Washington State won a Pac-10 Conference road game for just the second time in its last 12 tries.

What made Thursday night’s 69-53 thumping of Oregon State so improbable was the fact that the Cougars did it without much help from Carlos Daniel, who had been playing as well as any forward in the Pac-10.

Daniel, averaging 27 points in WSU’s three previous conference games, made 1 of 10 field goals and finished with two points.

How did the Cougars win?

WSU (8-7 overall, 1-3 Pac-10) won because sophomore point guard Blake Pengelly scored a career-high 16 points, draining all six of his field-goal tries, including four crucial 3-pointers.

“To win this one on the road, one of our first road games, I think it’s big for us,” said Pengelly, a native of nearby Eugene. “It will establish a little bit of confidence.”

WSU won because junior guard Kab Kazadi, a mere 6-footer, completely befuddled Corey Benjamin, Oregon State’s 6-6 forward and leading scorer. Benjamin scored six points, 13 below his average.

“That was critical,” WSU coach Kevin Eastman said.

WSU won because Oregon State (9-7, 0-5) ran its offense with all the consistency and discipline of a food fight. The Beavers made 2 of 22 3-pointers, drawing frequent boos from a Gill Coliseum crowd announced at 6,133.

WSU won because forward Kojo Mensah-Bonsu, barely 6-4 and 220 pounds, harassed Terrill Woods, Oregon State’s 280-pound center, into a 5-for-12, five-rebound performance.

WSU won because Benjamin, the Beavers’ most talented player since Gary Payton, made some of the most dubious decisions on the menu.

The capper came with 3:23 remaining. WSU led 53-47 at the time, and the Beavers were on the verge of forcing the Cougars into a potentially critical turnover.

With the final seconds of the shot clock ticking away, WSU forward Chris Crosby launched a desperation 3-pointer from well outside the arc. As the shot floated errantly in the general direction of the basket, Benjamin slammed into Crosby, sending WSU’s best shooter to the line for three shots.

Crosby swished all three, stretching WSU’s lead to 56-47.

But Benjamin wasn’t finished. Twenty-one seconds later, he was whistled for his fifth personal foul, a charging violation that gave the Cougars yet another opportunity.

Pengelly needed just 12 seconds to capitalize. His fourth 3-pointer, with 2:50 remaining, pushed the Cougars’ lead to 59-47.

Game over.

“We hit some big 3s, which we have to do on the road,” Eastman said. “And Kab did a nice job. Benjamin is not an easy guy to defend. He got one dunk today, and that was against Will.”

Will Hutchens may have given up a back-door alley-oop to Benjamin, but he also made one of the game’s bigger plays. His 3-pointer with 13:11 remaining stretched WSU’s lead to 39-34, giving the Cougars needed breathing room.

Hutchens, Pengelly and Kazadi combined to make 10 of 14 field goals. Oregon State’s guards, by comparison, connected on just 14 of 47, wasting significant advantages in height.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Pengelly, who had never led WSU in scoring. “Height just doesn’t win games. It’s how they use it. I think they tried a little bit to post up, but it wasn’t anything that was aggressive or hard to handle.”

A victory seemed critical for the Cougars, who had squandered a fivepoint lead in the final 35 seconds of Sunday’s 86-85 home loss to Arizona State. With a loss to the Beavers, beating Oregon on Saturday might have seemed highly improbable.

“It’s just a real good win for us,” Eastman said. “It gives the kids enthusiasm, for sure.”

The Beavers, meanwhile, have lost five straight. Coach Eddie Payne struggled to put the latest setback in perspective.

“I feel for our guys,” he managed.

Woods led Oregon State with 12 points. Crosby had 13 for WSU, followed by Mensah-Bonsu (12) and Kazadi (11).

Steve Slotemaker made the most of limited playing time - his 3-pointer gave WSU a 53-45 lead with 4:30 left.

Washington State 69, Oregon State 53

Washington State (8-7) - Daniel 1-10 0-0 2, Crosby 3-9 7-7 13, Nelson 3-3 0-0 6, Kazadi 2-5 6-8 11, Pengelly 6-6 0-0 16, Hutchens 2-3 0-0 6, Stewart 0-0 0-0 0, Slotemaker 1-2 0-0 3, Mensah-Bonsu 4-6 4-4 12. Totals 22-44 17-19 69.

Oregon State (9-7) - S. Benjamin 0-0 0-0 0, Woods 5-12 2-6 12, C. Benjamin 3-11 0-0 6, Grady 2-12 1-2 5, Bickerstaff 3-6 3-5 9, Vaden 3-12 0-0 8, Walker 1-3 1-2 3, Marshall 2-3 0-0 4, Tanner 1-2 0-0 2, Walton 2-4 0-0 4, Greene 0-0 0-0 0, Petrovic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-65 7-15 53.

Halftime-Washington St. 32, Oregon St. 28. 3-Point goals- Washington St. 8-13 (Pengelly 4-4, Hutchens 2-2, Slotemaker 1-1, Kazadi 1-3, Daniel 0-1, Crosby 0-2), Oregon St. 2-22 (Vaden 2-9, Tanner 0-1, Bickerstaff 0-2, C. Benjamin 0-4, Grady 0-6). Fouled out-C. Benjamin. Rebounds-Washington St. 30 (Daniel 10), Oregon St. 38 (Grady 6). Assists-Washington St. 17 (Pengelly 5), Oregon St. 10 (Bickerstaff 4). Total fouls-Washington St. 14, Oregon St. 21. A-6,133.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email