Washington State didn't get on the scoreboard until TCU had scored 14 points and it never got better for the Cougars.
The game was a debacle and a strong indicator that the Cougars are in for another long season. Losing to a solid UTEP team in the opener was one thing, losing to a TCU squad that went 0-18 in conference play last season is another thing entirely.
The Cougars return home from their Texas swing 0-2 with a game against an Idaho State team that ranks somewhere near No. 300 nationally on Friday.
Final thoughts and the game book are after the jump.
-- The Cougars did themselves no favors by starting the season on the road. Not only did they forsake any possibility of easing into the season and refining new coach Ernie Kent's system against hapless opponents by playing a game they likely to lose at UTEP, they likely sucked away any new energy that was to be gained from Kent's debut. It's hard to believe too many fans are going to be excited to come see a team that committed 47 turnovers in its first two games, which it lost by a combined 40 points.
If the Cougars had played a few more ISUs at home they could have capitalized on the energy Kent has spent all offseason trying to build, and could have gained some momentum and confidence heading into the meatier games.
Instead the Cougars will have to win some games just to get back on the radars of casual fans that would have been otherwise interested.
-- After the game Kent told postgame show host Bud Nameck that TCU beat the Cougars "In ways that we could not stop them, which really concerned me, because they pounded us inside again. It continues to be a problem for us, post defense and rebounding the basketball."
He added that those two weaknesses were more concerning to him than offensives struggles, because he believes the offensive hesitancy will go away as players get more used to his system.
-- Speaking of offensive struggles, another uncharacteristically bad night from DaVonte Lacy, who made just three of his 10 shots. Like the rest of the Cougars, he struggled from the free throw line as well, which implies to me that he's thinking too much or is otherwise affected mentally. Then again, he had a bad shooting night against UTEP but made seven of eight free throws, so maybe the rims were off in that very strange Dallas-Fort Worth gym.
Either way, the Cougars obviously need Lacy to step up or the offense won't be able to do much this season. Whether or not the Cougars have a good offensive game, he's the given, it's expected that they get 18 or so out of Lacy. If they're not getting that then everything else is probably moot.
-- Ike Iroegbu only played 11 minutes after playing 30 on Friday. In that game Kent was willing to let him work through some shooting struggles but in this one apparently the coach had enough and was willing to rely on the freshmen after an early turnover and some bad misses. I didn't see Iroegbu get hurt at all but it's worth noting that he dealt with some nagging leg issues in the offseason.
-- Another good game from Josh Hawkinson, who again didn’t start but played starter's minutes and finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds for his first career Grippi Burger (double-double).
He hit a couple nice jump hooks early in the game, which is something I don't remember seeing a WSU do all last season. He also attempted three 3-pointers, making one, but it was nice to see a player with some back-to-the-basket game.
-- Both Ny Redding and Trevor Dunbar looked OK, although you'd like to see them be a little more assertive given that they combined for just five field goal attempts in 32 minutes. Aaron Cheatum occasionally showed some flashes of the aggressive nose for the ball the Cougars will need from his this season.
-- The Cougars shot fine from beyond the arc, hitting five of 14 3-point attempts despite two of their best shooters – Lacy and Que Johnson – making just one of five. Taking a few more might not be a bad idea until the rest of the offense is really clicking.
Game book courtesy of WSU athletics.