PULLMAN – Forty minutes into the season, Washington State sophomore guard Marcus Capers can already sense the difference from a year ago.
Klay Thompson doesn’t feel as much pressure to score. DeAngelo Casto has help in the paint. And Faisal Aden, a junior college transfer, seems poised to make a big splash.
“Last year it was pretty much on Klay,” said Capers after the Cougars’ 86-47 rout of Southern on Saturday night. “… I feel like this year, on any given night, we might have a different dude scoring or we might have a different set of five guys in double figures.”
Aden, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, showcased a quick release and nice ball skills in his WSU debut. He had a game-high 18 points – despite a 1-of-8 showing from behind the 3-point line – to pace the Cougars’ well-rounded offensive performance in front of 6,173 at Beasley Coliseum.
DeAngelo Casto chipped in 16 points off the bench in the season opener, including nine in a row in the second half, and Brock Motum matched a career high with 14 points.
Thompson, last year’s leading scorer, was an efficient 6 of 10 from the field for 15 points. The junior was more than happy to defer on a night when he spent more time at point guard with Reggie Moore out indefinitely with a wrist injury.
“Just looking at the stats, we had a really balanced scoring effort,” Thompson said. “That just takes a lot of weight off my shoulders, a lot of weight off Reggie’s shoulders to have teammates that can score. We’re a lot more balanced now.”
Moore aggravated a previous wrist injury that occurred outside of practice, coach Ken Bone said. He’ll have X-rays today and is day-to-day heading into Tuesday’s clash versus Idaho.
Southern – which gave up 117 points to Gonzaga on Friday night – went 15 minutes of the first half without a field goal. WSU took advantage of the Jaguars’ severe drought with a 30-3 spurt, punctuated by a Thompson drive and bucket.
WSU 86, Southern 47
Percentages: FG .305, FT .500. 3-Point Goals: 4-27, .148 (Doggett 0-1, Ingram 0-2, White 0-1, Grace 1-4, Sanford 1-7, F.Coleman 0-1, Celestin 1-5, Taylor 0-1, P.Coleman 1-4, Bol 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 2 (Doggett, Ingram). Turnovers: 15 (Doggett 3, Ingram, White, Grace 3, Sanford 3, F.Coleman 4, Celestin, P.Coleman 2). Steals: 6 (Doggett, Grace 2, Celestin 2, P.Coleman). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .538, FT .762. 3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Motum 2-2, Lodwick 0-2, Thompson 1-5, Aden 1-8, Simon 2-4). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked shots: 1 (Casto). Turnovers: 15 (Motum, Capers, Thompson 5, Aden 4, Casto 3, Engquist). Steals: 9 (Lodwick, Capers 2, Thompson, Aden 3, Enquist, Simon). Technical fouls: None.
Halftime: Washington State 41, Southern41. A – 6173.