Moore, Capers take center stage

PULLMAN — For a guy who's been a punch line this week for every joke under the sun featuring the words smoke, weed and toke, Washington State's Reggie Moore responded with sobering clarity Saturday against Oregon. "He stepped up early when we needed him to provide some scoring," said WSU head coach Ken Bone of his sophomore point guard.

"Reggie did a nice job. He hit some big shots when we really needed him to early when other guys like Klay and Faisal were not hitting those shots. It was good to see Reggie step up and put a couple down.

"It's something we've been looking for and it's something that that we need. He's our best ball handler and we need him to play like that," Bone added.

Indeed, the Cougars fell behind 17-9 to the Ducks in no small part because usual sharpshooters Klay Thompson and Faisal Aden couldn't hit the broadside of the Lewis Alumni Center. Moreover, Thompson picked up two fouls in the early going and headed to the bench Moore took the game into his own hands, fueling a 21-4 Cougar run that ultimately led to a 77-63 victory in front of 6,690 crimson partisans.

"Sometimes you start slow," said Cougar center DeAngelo Casto, who chipped in 12 points and 7 rebounds on the night. "We were missing some shot's early but Reggie carried the team for a little bit on the offensive end."


CASTO: 12 POINTS, 7 BOARDS

Moore, from Seattle, put on an offensive clinic in the first half, scoring all of his 15 points by hitting 3 three-pointers, and adding six free throws. More impressive, however, was the run Moore had mid-way through the first half that gave the Cougars the lead for good on his shoulders alone.

Moore knocked down a pair of free throws at the 7:22 mark to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 20-19, and then proceeded to score the next five Cougar points as WSU jumped to a 25-19 advantage and never looked back. Moore also added three assists in the first half as the Cougars headed into the locker room with a 39-26 advantage.

"He played really good. He took good shots and set the tempo on offense," said Thompson, who wound up with a team-high 16 points. "He had a lot of opportunities to make some plays and Reg knows he's a good player and when he has those opportunities he can capitalize. He's a lot better shooter than people give him credit for."

Thompson was held scoreless for the first 15-plus minutes of the night, not hitting his first jump shot until 4:08 remaining in the first half. He hit his first three pointer with 44 seconds left in the first half. He scored 11 points in the second half.

Meanwhile, Aden continued his quiet night in the second half and finished with a season-low six points. However, his usual offensive prowess was not necessary because the Cougars dominated the second half on both ends of the floor. WSU came out of the gates red hot in the second half and extended their 39-26 advantage to 58-37 following a lay-up by Brock Motum. The Ducks chipped into the lead but could never make a big run as the Cougars captured their second straight win.

As for the emotion of the win following last year's bogus official's call at the buzzer that resulted in a double-overtime victory for the Ducks, Marcus Capers didn't hesitate stating that it made this year's win that much sweeter.


PATRICK SIMON FIGHTS FOR THE BOARD

"It felt pretty good,"Capers said. "Everyone felt like we got cheated last year, then the close loss at the Staples Center. But any time you have a game like this when we lose like that just means a lot more."

Another story line in the victory was the play of Capers. The Florida native had the play of the night with an up-roaring two-handed put-back slam that set off an explosion of cheers at Friel Court.

Capers was named the player of the game by PA man Glenn Johnson after his second-consecutive double-digit game and one was one rebounds shy of a double-double. He had 13, 9 nine rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and a steal.

"I was a little hyper, I think it was the shoes -- I got the cool grays limited edition," Capers quipped. "I just feel that when teams scout me they play off me."

Capers who is known mostly for his defensive abilities, has been consistently attacking the basket and scores his points off hustle plays and determination. Something he native doesn't mind whatsoever.

"Of Course," Capers said when asked if he enjoyed the hustle plays. "I just like playing to the crowd. I really don't know how athletic I am most of the times but some of the stuff like the dunk I had when I caught it off the rim, I was shocked. I'm like a little kid so I'm just out there having fun and when we get a W, it's just a whole lot more fun."

The Cougars are now 12-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play. They head to the Bay Area this week to play Cal on Thursday and Stanford on Saturday.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • With 16 points, Klay Thompson moved into ninth on WSU's career scoring list passing Joe Wallace…he now has 1,379 points.

  • Washington State had 16 assists, marking the second-straight game with 15 or more assists (18 against Oregon State).

    CAPERS PUTS A THROW DOWN ON DUCKS


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