Motum won't let WSU fall prey to letdown

PULLMAN -- Brock Motum's performance Thursday night will no doubt go unnoticed by national media outlets. Judging by the small smattering of students at Beasley Coliseum, his 27 points and eight rebounds probably even didn't attract much attention across Whitman County. Nonetheless, Motum again played with something the Cougs badly needed...

A sense of urgency.

On a night there was every reason to mail in a subpar effort (it's finals week at WSU), the senior power forward again showed why he led the Pac-12 in scoring last season. Brock Motum knocked down 10-of-18 shots from the field. He banged in 7-of-10 free throws, and he played 38 minutes in WSU's 51-42 win against Jackson State.

"I think Brock being a senior and being very determined to become the best player he can become – it doesn't matter if we have another game here at midnight," Ken Bone said. "He's going to come out and bring it."

Motum is moving into royalty on the all-time WSU scoring list. Tonight he passed Steve Harriel and Vince Hanson to move into 19th on WSU's career points list and is now just five points behind Kyle Weaver at No. 18, (1,162).

"I think he's very focused," said Bone. "It's his senior year and we're already 11 games into the season and so his clock is ticking. I think he understands that. He's motivated. He's motivated to become a great basketball player."

Fresh off earning Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, Motum said his success comes from maintaining a consistent attitude. The Australian southpaw hasn't scored fewer than 20 points in a game since a win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 24.

"I just approach each game the same," he said. "It doesn't really matter who we play. It's still going to be a challenge for me personally and for the team. Ultimately we want to win and I just do everything I can to ensure that we win every night."

He also was quick to deflect praise on a night WSU needed every one of his buckets to win. The Cougars led just 26-21 at half before Jackson State took a brief 34-32 lead early in the second half. WSU responded with their one impressive run of the evening, a 14-0 spurt to seal a sloppy victory. The Cougars finished with 19 turnovers and 15 assists.

Bone, meanwhile, didn't exactly sound thrilled about having to play Motum for nearly the entire game.

"Yea, 38 minutes is not what I was hoping," he said. "Before the game I was hoping to play everybody. I was hoping I could get the guys who don't play a lot eight, 10 or 12 minutes but it did not quite work out that way."

Jackson State wasted no time showing why they entered Thursday's game 0-6, shooting a dreadful 22.6 percent in the first half. They finished the night with just 13 field goals and never found any semblance of rhythm on the offensive end. Bone said their shooting woes were a credit to his club's improving defense.

"I liked our defense," he said. "I thought our ball handling was really, really bad and our shooting was bad... It's finals week and I think the kid's minds are on their schoolwork. We were horrible in a sense. We were horrible with the ball, but defensively you take away the amount of points they scored off of our turnovers and they only scored twenty points in the game."

"I think our half-court, quarter-court defense was pretty impressive," he said.

  • DaVonté Lacy was the only other WSU player to score in double figures. He chipped in 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He knocked down a trio of threes on eight attempts. WSU finished shooting just shy of 41 percent from the field.

  • The Cougars outscored the Tigers 30-14 in the paint but had just two fast break points.

  • At 7-4, WSU now takes eight days off before facing Buffalo at the KeyArena on December 21.

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