Beaver defense delivers

Washington State controlled the tempo Thursday night at Gill Coliseum, but Oregon State controlled the scoreboard, winning the game 52-41.

Forward David Lucas led the way for the Beavers with 21 points and added six rebounds.  "He's our go to guy," sophomore guard Chris Stephens said of Lucas. "When we need points, we can dump it down to him."

Oregon State head coach Jay John agreed,   "David was ready to play, both halves," John said after the Beavers second consecutive conference win.  "That is, without question, his most solid performance offensively."

"I was just being really patient, being quick with my moves, picking and choosing if I'm gonna shoot or not, or pass it out. I think it was a pretty good game on the offensive side," Lucas said.

Next to the offensive game by Lucas, the main storyline in this game was the combination of  the Beaver defense and the poor shooting by the Cougars. Washington State hit only 5-of-24 shots in the first half, and 14-of-49 overall for an abysmal shooting percentage of 28.6%.

"Field goal percentage was really the difference," John said. "If Washington State hit some of those shots, then we have a game that goes down to the wire. We played hard, we played well, and we battled."

Crowd favorite Jim Hanchett thought the Beavers had a solid game defensively as well.  "(You) can't take us out of the equation," the forward said. "I think we played solid basketball. Whether or not they hit their shots, you'd like to say it was because of our great defense, but definitely we contributed to that."

With 13:56 to go in the second half, the Cougars Jeff Varem made a layup to give WSU their first field goal in 15 minutes, 18 seconds of action. That bucket made the score 34-20 in favor of OSU. Wazzu had previously  missed 12 straight field goals before that shot fell.

Stephens and Hanchett added eight points apiece while no other Beaver had more than four, this truly was a defensive game.

Not eon player on the Washington State team scored in double figures.  Forward Ezenwa Ukeagu scored nine points to lead the Cougars. Two of WSU's better players, guard's Marcus Moore and Thomas Kelati, combined to shoot just 2-of-22 from the floor for nine points.

It isn't difficult to understand why the Cougars lost this game.   Those two players average 24 points per game together as Moore leads the team in scoring, and Kelati is second.

Forward Kyle Jeffers led Oregon State in rebounds with nine while point guard Lamar Hurd led with four assists.

Note: J.S. Nash went down late in the second half with an injury. Coach John didn't know what Nash's availability will be for Saturday's 1 p.m. game  with the University of Washington will be, but he said it appeared to be a  quad

Jake Schubert can be reached at

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