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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Looking back at Utah

The Cougars need Jordan Railey’s rebounding numbers to improve. (Associated Press)
The Cougars need Jordan Railey’s rebounding numbers to improve. (Associated Press)

We dissect Washington State's 86-64 loss to Utah in our usual day-after post.

Perhaps the Cougars are on a bit of a slump. Perhaps, as Vince Grippi suggested, they just don't play well against former Montana coaches. Or maybe something about playing the Pac-12's top two scoring defenses threw WSU for a loop.

Whatever it was, the Cougars lost again last night and Utah, the nation's No. 12 team playing in its own house, never seemed very threatened.

-- Unlike the Oregon State game, the Cougars were actually able to play at their own pace and forced the Utes to run with them for the games first 10-15 minutes. That might not have been the best thing for WSU, however, because the Utes had the athletes to keep up with WSU and the defensive skill to force WSU into bad decision.

The Utes showed an occasional trap defense and forced WSU into 17 turnovers. WSU's fast-break offense worked against it, increasing the number of possessions and increasing the speed at which the Utes were able to distance themselves from the Cougars.

Those turnovers threw WSU out of its offensive rhythm and WSU's only effective offense the rest of the game was early in the second half when it made 6 of 7 3-pointers, not all of which were great looks.

-- Senior Jordan Railey had an interesting game in his first extensive action since the California game.  After the best game of his career in Berkeley, Railey played just five minutes against Washington and then 10 minutes in each of the last two games, ostensibly because of personnel matchups.

The glaring stat from Wednesday's game is Railey's 2 of 9 performance at the free throw line, which admittedly isn't great at a shot so easy the original basketball architects decided to put "free" right in the name.

Put in every other regard Railey actually played pretty well, scoring 12 points and collecting eight rebounds in 24 minutes. He also had a career-high five blocks and by getting to the line so frequently he kept Utah's bigs in foul trouble efor much of the game.

Some stats of note:

-- DaVonté Lacy made three 3-pointers, moving him into fifth-place on WSU's all-time list.

-- Freshman Trevor Dunbar's 15 minutes were his most yet in a Pac-12 game.

-- Aaron Cheatum scored his first Pac-12 points.

Quotes of note:

Brett Boese on how WSU can better defend 3-pointers while in a zone defense:

" I think if you close out with high hands, hands in the passing lanes, everyone talks about the Syracuse zone how they're so effective, because their hands are always up."

Jordan Railey on attacking Utah inside since the Utes didn't have 7-footer Jakob Poeltl:

"I don't necessarily think it was anything to do with Poeltl himself, it was just what was available at the time.

Ernie Kent on why they lost:

"The number one thing we talked about today was taking away the 3-point shot and we did not do that. I thought our energy was good getting up and down the floor, I thought we battled back at times to cut it to 10 but you've got to take care of easy buckets."

Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak on the game starting with a technical for dunking in warm-ups:

"I'm just happy now that we're enforcing all the rules of basketball."



Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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