March 1, 2014 in Sports

Cougars go cold in Seattle, lose to UW

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Washington’s Desmond Simmons drives over Washington State’s Jordan Railey.
(Full-size photo)

Follow WSU men’s basketball reporter Jacob Thorpe on Twitter @JacobThorpeSR

SEATTLE – Only DaVonte Lacy could match Washington’s efficiency on Friday night. But he couldn’t keep up with the Huskies’ pack by himself and the UW cruised to a 72-49 victory in front of 7,647 fans in the rivalry rematch.

The Cougars were held without a field goal over the game’s final 13:04. In that time, Washington extended its lead from 53-44 to the final 23-point margin.

“They brought a lot of energy, they were in front of their crowd and we didn’t hit shots,” Lacy said. “We just plain didn’t hit shots. We had a lot of wide-open looks in the second half and we just didn’t hit shots.”

D.J. Shelton finished with 15 rebounds – more than half of the team’s 27 – but missed all 10 of his 3-point attempts. The Huskies switched on defense and occasionally had a guard on the 6-foot-10 senior, who made 3 of 4 shots from inside the arc.

But Shelton said that he can’t stray from the perimeter too often.

“I don’t think so because it would probably mess up the timing and spacing and everything else we’ve got going on,” Shelton said.

Lacy made 6 of 14 shots and 4 of 8 3-pointers on his way to a game-leading 25 points. But the rest of the team made just 8 of 31 field goals and WSU shot a mere 31.1 percent from the field. The Huskies had no trouble finding the basket, making 51 percent of their shots.

“It’s nice when you have a supporting cast making you look good,” coach Ken Bone said. “And tonight (Lacy’s) supporting cast just wasn’t very productive.”

With the loss, the Cougars finish with losses in all nine Pac-12 road games. WSU’s only road win this season came at Idaho on Dec. 7, and the team’s last conference road win came at Oregon State on Jan. 26, 2013.

“Maybe adjusting to the gym,” Shelton said of WSU’s struggles away from Beasley Coliseum. “It’s how things are set up, the courts are different, the crowds. They had a great crowd here tonight so it was real loud.”

UW guard Andrew Andrews set the tone for the Huskies early. He pushed a fast break to get an early foul on Lacy and then stole the ball from the WSU guard on the ensuing possession for a layup. He led the Huskies with 11 points in the half and built UW’s halftime lead to 36-24.

But it was the steady hand of freshman Nigel Williams-Goss that guided the Huskies to victory. He led the team in points with 17 and rebounds with 12. The Huskies turned the ball over just 10 times, and none were courtesy of the freshman point guard.

“Early on, the first 5 minutes I thought they got the best of us,” Bone said. “I thought early on they did a nice job of setting the tone defensively and playing with a high level of energy. In the second half, I think just the opposite. I thought we came out, we were more energetic and we played well early on.”

The Cougars cut UW’s lead to seven in less than 3 minutes in the second half. But the Cougars couldn’t shoot well enough to put together a run and the UW found its footing.

With 11:17 left in the game Williams-Goss stole a cross-court pass from Shelton and dunked it. In just seconds the Huskies had the ball back and Mike Anderson, who makes 29 percent of his 3-pointers, drained a shot from behind the arc.

The sequence set off a 9-0 run to put the Huskies up 62-44 and render the final 8 minutes moot.

With the loss, Thursday’s game against USC will likely determine the last-place finisher in the conference. The Cougars have one more conference win than the Trojans (10-18, 1-14 Pac-12), but a win would give USC the tiebreaker.

“Obviously I’m not the brightest coach or we’d be doing better, but what I understand is to try and keep their heads up and instill confidence,” Bone said. “But I sure failed tonight; we did not play confident at all down the stretch. So I will try to do that. I will try to get these guys to believe that they’re better than they’re performed tonight and hopefully we can go into that homestretch, those last two games, and play better basketball.”


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