Cougars dominant in season-opening win

THE SEASON OPENER is a small snapshot. Making predictions based on Washington State's 86-47 victory Saturday against overmatched Southern (0-2) is not wise.

But the opener provides insight into plots that are developing. And for the Cougars (1-0), it begins with offense. During coach Ken Bone's inaugural season on the Palouse, where he finished 16-15 overall and 6-12 in Pac-10 play, he frequently stated that the program lacked the personnel to fully incorporate the uptempo offensive style he prefers.

If the preseason and opener are any indication, that will not be a problem this season. After stagnating early and falling behind without sophomore point guard Reggie Moore, who is out indefinitely with a left wrist injury, WSU went on a 28-1 run to take a 41-18 lead at halftime.

"I think they went 12 or 13 possessions without a score," WSU junior wing Marcus Capers said during a postgame interview. "That gave us a lot of confidence."

As usual, it all started with junior wing Klay Thompson. He made 6 of 10 shots from the field en route to 15 points. Thompson also had six assists and six rebounds.

"I was really impressed with Klay Thompson," Bone said during a postgame radio interview. "I liked his overall balance."

But unlike last season, when the Cougars struggled to find multiple offensive options to supplement Moore and Thompson, that might not be an issue this season. Guard Faisal Aden, a junior-college transfer who started in Moore's place, showed he still can score even when his 3-point shot is not falling. Aden made just 1 of 8 attempts behind the arch, but he still scored a game-high 18 points. Junior center DeAngelo Casto added 16 points.

"I was really happy with DeAngelo," Bone said. "We really tried to get the ball to him and see what he could do in the paint. He was able to convert."

POWER FORWARD WILL be an interesting position to watch. Redshirt junior Abe Lodwick started at that position, but he will continue to be challenged by sophomore Brock Motum and freshman Patrick Simon. Motum was one of four players who scored in double figures with 14 points and converted all six of his field goals. Simon, an Ephrata High School product, had nine points — he hit 2 of 3 3-pointers — and added eight rebounds.

Unless Moore has an extended absence, that might be the only starting position that changes. Some thought Aden might challenge Marcus Capers, but Bone said last week that the latter was the team's most improved player. Bone said Capers also is more consistent on defense than Aden.

Capers made 3 of 6 shots en route to eight points and finished with a career-high 15 rebounds.

"We asked a little bit more of our perimeter guys," said Bone, referring to Moore's absence. "We asked Marcus Capers to go rebound and he sure did."

WSU, which next plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Idaho at Friel Court, had little trouble with the Jaguars in the second half. The Cougars went on a 21-0 run at one point against Southern, which finished 5-25 last season, and plays in the Southwest Athletic Conference.

This marked the 23rd consecutive win in a home season opener and WSU improved to 38-0 in November at Friel Court.


  • Southern converted just 5 of 24 3-pointers and shot 30.5 percent from the field, while WSU converted 53.3 percent of its shots.

    "I thought our guys did a nice job defensively," Bone said. "I thought we were pretty locked into helping on penetration."

  • WSU finished with 15 turnovers against Southern.

    "In a game like this, I would rather not see that many," Bone said.

  • Aden's 18 points were the most by a junior-college transfer since forward Ivory Clark scored 19 against Oral Roberts on March 15, 2007.

  • Australian product Dexter Kernich-Drew did not play. As previously reported by CF.C, Bone said he would prefer to redshirt Kernich-Drew.

  • The Cougars outrebounded the Jaguars 49-21.

  • Southern power forward Madut Bol is the son of late NBA center Manute Bol, who played parts of 10 seasons for Washington, Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami.

  • Cougfan Top Stories