Cougars hope for more from Moore
Reggie Moore knows that to help WSU recover from its offensive swoon, he needs to score more.
The Cougars’ guard was more aggressive in WSU’s 71-60 loss to Colorado last week, leading the team with 14 points in 28 minutes off the bench.
He’ll look to continue that approach when the Cougs head west this weekend to face Washington, a team that always seems to bring out the best in the junior point guard.
“I’m going to start attacking more,” Moore said. “People have been looking for me to score, so I’m going to start answering that call.”
The Cougs would be well-served if he’d do it from the beginning. WSU set season-low first-half point totals in both games last weekend, scoring 23 before halftime against Utah and 24 against Colorado.
Moore came off the bench for just the second time this season against the Buffaloes, with redshirt freshman guard Dexter Kernich-Drew replacing him in the starting lineup.
Coach Ken Bone left open the possibility that more changes could be made to the startling lineup this week, but said that he anticipates Moore will return to his role as a starter.
Junior forward Kelly Olynyk, one of three Gonzaga players redshirting this season, obviously can’t play in games, but that doesn’t mean he’s watching idly from the bench. The 7-footer charts stats and talks strategy with teammates during timeouts.
“He’s done a wonderful job of staying involved and he’s truly helped us in games,” head coach Mark Few said, “whether it’s helping the bigs with their defensive coverage or talking to them about what the other team is doing. He charts things like post touches, scores and rebounding effort. He’s really smart and he’s seeing the game almost from a coaching perspective.”
Few added that Olynyk has become a “smarter player” in practice.
Kyle Barone’s production has declined in recent weeks – and it was even spotty before the holiday break. But his coach isn’t concerned.
“He’s our second-team all-league guy from last year,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of Barone, a 6-foot-10 junior. “You know, when he starts playing a little bit better – and he hasn’t played awful – I think you’ll see our team really improve.”
Since posting consecutive double-doubles in a Midwest road trip before Christmas, Barone has more turnovers (14) than rebounds (13) in the last three games. With defense keying on him, his scoring average has dipped to 11. 9 ppg, third on the team.
“We obviously need Kyle to play at a higher level, and he’s working like crazy to do that,” Verlin said.
Eastern Washington has just what it wants – momentum – heading in a three-game road trip that begins tonight at Sacramento State. The Eagles beat Northern Arizona 76-59, but the Eagles also can take heart on the stat sheet. In four conference games, including matchups against preseason favorites Weber State and Montana, the Eagles have easily the best turnover margin in the league at plus-5.8. They rank second in offensive rebounds at 11.5 a game.
On the other hand, the Eagles are last in rebounding at minus-3.9 per game.
Individually, guard Cliff Colimon is the league’s number two scorer at 22.0. , while Cliff Ederaine and Laron Griffin each rank in the top seven in rebounding. Griffin leads the conference in field goal percentage at 76.5 percent.