Cougs find second offensive threat in Aden

PULLMAN – If Washington State's 89-49 exhibition win Friday over Lewis-Clark State is any indication, the pre-season reports of Faisal Aden's prowess on the offensive end of the court were not exaggerated. Klay Thompson, it seems, will have some weight lifted from his scoring shoulders. Aden put on a show in the first 20 minutes, draining 3-of-4 from downtown and 4-of-5 overall.

And estimated 3,700 fans were at Friel Court to see the JC transfer show off his pure stroke. He scored 15 points in the first half and 22 for the game. In all, he made 9-of-13 shots.

"I always play with confidence," Faisal Aden said afterward. "Growing up I always played with confidence and that's just where I came from.

"I think I played good," said the 6-4 shooting guard who grew up in San Diego but prepped in Dallas. "It felt really good actually to be out there finally. We've been playing each other for so long and to play somebody else and the competition was pretty good too."

The Cougars' bench played a big role in the win, pouring in 44 points, with 22 of them from Aden. In about 15 minutes of cour time each, Brock Motum scored 11 off the bench and Patrick Simon 7. In addition, the Cougs received 4 from walk-on Will DiIorio and 2 from Dexter Kernich-Drew. Head coach Ken Bone said the team has built the depth that he is looking for, and it was made clear with Aden's performance.

"Well Faisel showed that tonight," Bone said. "Sometimes he makes it look effortless. He's a very good shooter, he has a nice little shot fake and he knows how to create shots for himself. He's one of the first guys off the bench. Probably the first guard off the bench and just depending on whether or not he's the first or second sub in the game. I would for see him coming off the bench and giving us a lift because he can score."

The starters against L-C figure to be the first five next Friday when the Cougars open the regular season against Southern: DeAngelo Casto and Abe Lodwick in the post, Thompson and Marcus Capers on the wings and Reggie Moore at point guard.

Thompson, the junior sharpshooter, also had himself an impressive evening, dropping 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in just 24 minutes of PT. Thompson was stellar from behind the three-point line, going 4-of-5, and said that although the team only has one game under its belt, he can see the differences from 2009's 16-15 season.

"We're a year older and a lot of us are taking our game to another level," Thompson said. "With Faisel now we have another big-time scoring threat from the wing so we're just a lot more balanced this year and it allows me to be a lot more versatile."

Bone said he was more impressed with the extras, not just the scoring, that Thompson brought to the stat sheet Friday night.

"He comes up with seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals, an assist. He's not just a shooter, he's finding other ways to contribute to our team."

Meanwhile, in the post, Casto added to the offensive fireworks by scoring 18 points. He add four rebounds. Casto played only 16 minutes, but Bone said he liked what he saw out of his junior center.

"DeAngelo was really solid in the paint," Bone said. "He was 7-of-8 from the field and I liked the way he was under control and played at his own speed. If he didn't have good balance or the shot he wanted, he was patient and had some nice shot fakes and pivots to create a good open shot for himself."

Another aspect in the teams blowout win over the Warriors was that starting Moore put up a goose egg offensively, going 0-3 from the floor. However in the eyes of Bone, Moore had himself a great evening spreading the ball around and not trying to force anything on offense.

"What I was impressed with was that Reggie Moore went out and here's a guy who was on the all Pac-10 freshman team last year and he doesn't score a point," Bone said. "But he has 7 assists, no turnovers and he was very involved in the game but scoring was not a priority for him tonight because he got other guys the ball that was scoring. I think that's very important for our team's success, that unselfish attitude."

Moore's understudy, freshman Andre Winston, played 16 minutes. He was 0-for-3 from the field and dished no assists but pulled down 7 rebounds.

NOTABLE NOTES:

- The Cougars shot 62.5 percent from the floor, connecting on 35-of-56 field goals, and the defense limited the Warriors to 30.4 percent on 14-46 field goals.

- With about seven minutes left in regulation, Capers knocked down a 19-foot jump shot. Capers, who has struggled with his jump shot in his three years in Pullman, has been making extreme improvements in practice according to Bone. "It'd be great if Marcus could shoot the way he's been shooting in practice," Bone said. "I've mentioned that to a number of people that he's playing pretty well. He does a lot of things well for us but if he could shoot with consistency which I think he's done in the last two months since he's been back in school, he's going to have a really nice season." Capers was 2-of-3 on the night.

- The Cougs went into a 2-3 zone late in the second half and although the team was up over 30, Bone put Thompson and Moore back onto the hardwood in place of Kernich-Drew and Winston. Bone said the move was in order to his two starters to get in some more reps with the defensive scheme because they have been working on it in practice and wanted them to get some live action.

- Center Steven Bjornstad was not suited up for the Cougs and is continuing to recover from his nagging knee woes. Bone said that Bjornstad has been able to practice with the team for about 30-45 minutes per session, but the team doesn't have a time table on when he will be able to return.

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