Bone: 'Very slim chance' Motum plays Monday

WASHINGTON STATE COACH Ken Bone is not giving up hope that his best player will be able to compete in the best-of-three College Basketball Invitational championship series that begins at 7 p.m. Monday against Pittsburgh (TV: HDNet) at Friel Court. Bone said during his Saturday teleconference that junior center Brock Motum has not been ruled out against the Panthers.

Bone said there is "a very slim chance" that Motum, who averages 18 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, will play Monday after suffering a sprained right foot during Wednesday at Oregon State. He said Motum has not practiced since he suffered the injury and wears a boot when he is not undergoing physical therapy.

But because X-rays taken after he suffered the injury with 18 minutes, 10 seconds, remaining in the first half at OSU revealed that he did not suffer a fracture, Bone said there is a possibility that Motum could play Monday if he feels better.

"In that situation, it would come down to how he's doing right before the game," he said, adding that Motum is questionable for Wednesday's contest. "He wants to be back out there immediately."

Bone said that is an important distinction because some athletes are not eager to play directly after suffering an injury.

IF MOTUM IS unavailable, Bone said senior center Charlie Enquist, junior wing Mike Ladd or sophomore forward D.J. Shelton could take his spot in the starting lineup. Regardless of which one starts, Bone said the Cougars (18-16) must be focused on rebounding. He noted that Pittsburgh (20-16) had 13 offensive rebounds in its win against Butler to advance to the CBI championship series.

Bone compared the Panthers' rebounding prowess to Washington. He said their athleticism is similar to Arizona. WSU went a combined 0-4 against those teams this season.

But Bone said he and the players are excited for the challenge. He said the main goal always is to advance to the NCAA Tournament, but they relish the opportunity to play a traditional power from the Big East even though Pittsburgh fell to 5-13 in conference play this season.

"It means a lot to me and our program," Bone said. "This is definitely our last game at home. I think it would be a great opportunity for our fans to see a Big East team here."

Bone said the biggest keys for WSU are rebounding and limiting turnovers.

The Cougars are 3-0 in the CBI and have an opportunity to join OSU (2009) and Oregon (2011) as Pac-12 schools that have won championships in the five-year-old tournament.

Without Motum for most of the game, the Cougars played perhaps their best game of the CBI in their 72-55 victory versus the Beavers. In addition to the performance of senior forward Abe Lodwick, who had career highs in points (23) and rebounds (12), Bone praised junior point guard Reggie Moore. He finished with a season-high 22 points and added three assists.

"Reggie did an outstanding job of following through with the game plan," said Bone, adding that he liked Moore's aggressiveness.

Bone also noted that Ladd had eight rebounds, and sophomore forward Patrick Simon converted his lone 3-point attempt.

"I was happy to see Patrick Simon get out there and bury a deep 3," Bone said. "We're going to need that."

  • Bone described his team's practices as "good and upbeat" and added that they will benefit the program next season.

    "It's always good to have those extra practices," he said. "It does lead into the offseason and attitudes about the team. It can only help for next year."

  • The schools only have met once before. The Panthers defeated WSU 57-43 in the Legends Classic on Nov. 29, 2008, in Newark, N.J.

  • Cougfan Top Stories