Motum laments what might have been

PULLMAN — Brock Motum, the steadiest hand in the Cougars line-up, finished with 28 points and five rebounds Thursday night. But there's one number that will haunt Motum following WSU's 76-72 loss to Arizona.

Eight.

Motum missed eight free-throws, finishing 10-of-18 from the charity stripe. His struggles mostly came down the stretch, the Aussie missed six consecutive free throws after starting off 9-of-11.

With the Cougars down 72-69 and under a minute left, Motum headed to the line for three free throws but missed the first two. Arizona (19-8 overall,10-4 in Pac-12 play) went 4-of-4 from the FT line in the final seconds, handing the Cougars (13-13 overall, 5-9 in Pac-12 play) yet another close home loss.

Motum was visibly upset following the game.

"I think 98 other times out of 100 I would be able to knock those down," Motum said. "But I didn't."

Yet the Cougs wouldn't have been in position to win without Motum. He was the best player on the court in a game that swung back and forth all night.

Ken Bone said if the same sequence presented itself again, he still wants Motum to be the one taking the shots from the line.

"We all know that he's a very good free throw shooter," Bone said. "Who would have thought that he wouldn't make free throws down the stretch this game. You know it happens to the best of them and he's definitely one of the best (free throw shooters) on our team."

"I just said I hoped he didn't hang his head about any free throws missed at the end because he willed his team to put them in a position to win," Arizona coach Sean Miller told CF.C.

Motum led all scorers with his 28 points and was 8-of-14 from the field.

"I always admire guys like that who a year ago didn't have as big a role," Miller said. "Two years ago, you didn't know who he is. Now all of a sudden he's a bona fide all-conference player."

IN ADDITION TO Motum, the Cougs' Reggie Moore had a good outing -- Moore was the vocal leader in the huddle, and was jawing back and forth with Arizona guard Josiah Turner. He was even pumping up the crowd after he or a teammate made a big play.

Moore finished with a season high 21 points off 8-of-13 shooting and added four assists.

"I was just trying to get to the cup," Moore said. "I knew they were going to pay a lot of attention to Brock so I was just driving and trying to help the team win."

Moore only turned the ball over once in his 33 minutes of play, a statistic not lost on Bone.

"It's extremely important. The ball goes through him. He leads the conference in assists and I think he's in the top two or three in assist to turnover ratio. Reggie's done a good job all year of taking care of the ball and tonight was just another game where he did a good job of that."

WSU needs two good days of preparation ahead of the Arizona State tilt on Saturday – a team that dealt them a stunning 71-67 defeat in Tempe back on Jan.28.

"Whether it's a tough loss or a blow out we still have to turn the page," Motum said. "We can't start the Arizona State game thinking I can't believe we just lost to Arizona, it doesn't matter. It wouldn't have mattered if we won or lost tonight, we still have to flip the page and focus on Arizona State."

NOTABLE NOTE:
The Wildcats were 9-of-19 from beyond the three point arc and were led by Brandon Lavender who was 5-of-7 from Downtown. Lavender lead the team with 17 points in 25 minutes of play. In the two games against WSU this season, Arizona is a combined 24-of-45 from three point land.

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