Injury-depleted WSU earns first road win

IT'S ONE THING when true freshmen like Patrick Simon and Andre Winston get notable playing time. But it's quite another when freshman walk-on Will DiIorio is called upon to make an appearance when the game is still in question. Such is the state of Washington State's injury woes that all hands were on deck Friday for the Cougars' win at Fresno State.

WSU's lack of depth was highlighted during the 66-55 nonconference victory over the Bulldogs.

Without junior center DeAngelo Casto, who suffered a sprained foot during Wednesday's practice, and sophomore point guard Reggie Moore who still is idle with a bad wrist, WSU struggled for about 30 minutes.

"We showed the first half that we were pretty stagnant and could not get in sync," WSU coach Ken Bone said in a postgame radio interview.

That was never more apparent than during the second half when the Bulldogs (1-3) used a 12-0 run to take a 44-37 lead. But WSU (4-0), which has featured big runs in every game this season, responded with a 14-0 stretch that ended with a jumper by junior guard Faisal Aden to take a 51-44 lead.

"Once the game was really close, my instincts kicked in," Aden said in a postgame radio interview, adding that he was told by the coaches to focus when he briefly was pulled during the second half. "We had to get a win."

Bone said he was impressed with how his team responded.

"We kind of kept our composure when things didn't go well," he said.

THE OFFENSIVE PROWESS of Aden, who scored a game-high 28 points, and junior wing Klay Thompson ultimately was too much for FSU, which entered the game ranked 284th in adjusted offensive efficiency by college basketball statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy, to keep up. Thompson finished with 22 points.

Bone felt the scoring output by Aden, who hit 6-of-12 shots from downtown, and Thompson also affected FSU's offense.

"That's a tough job chasing Klay and Faisal around," Bone said. "It wears guys out."

The Bulldogs shot just 35.2 percent from the field.

"I think a lot of it had to do with us being focused and knowing where their shooters are," Bone said. "We did a good job of getting a hand up on those guys."

Aden and Thompson essentially provided all of the Cougars' offense during the first half as they combined for 26 points. Sophomore forward Brock Motum, who finished with 11 points, was the only other WSU player to convert a field goal during the first half as Bulldogs led 32-31 at the intermission. Motum, who played just seven minutes the other night against Portland, turned in a career-high 30 minutes vs. FSU.

The Cougars' lack of depth showed as only five players scored — junior wing Marcus Capers had four points and Winston added one, and they used DiIorio, a walk-on freshman, to give Thompson a rest during the second half.

That problem could be addressed if Casto can return when WSU hosts Sacramento State at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Bone said he would be reevaluated when the team gets back to Pullman.

"He's a big body who blocks shots," Aden said. "We kind of missed him."

But rebounding continues to be an issue for the Cougars, who were outrebounded 41-34.

"It's an area we continue to talk about," Bone said. "We need to get better at it."

It was not for a lack of effort from reserve center Charlie Enquist, though. The 6-foot-10 junior dove for multiple loose balls during the second half. He played 14 minutes.

"I really liked Charlie Enquist's hustle," Bone said. "That's two games in a row where I've liked what Charlie brought us."

NOTABLE: With two treys on the night, Thompson moved into a tie with Marcus Moore for seventh on WSU's all-time list for made 3-pointers.

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