Bone: Newcomers progressing nicely

THE NOTABLE performances turned in Sunday by Jordan Railey and Que Johnson in WSU's win over Pepperdine should just be a glimpse of where they can take their games, Cougar head coach Ken Bone said Monday in his weekly talk with reporters.

"It's going in the right direction. I do feel good about the fact that they continue to grow in little ways, seems like every day, every game. They haven't got there yet, but they're getting closer," Bone said.

"I think they both have a lot of talent and with game experience against Pac-12 teams I think that'll be a learning experience; through that I think they'll continue to grow as players," said Bone.

This season effectively is the first either has played in two seasons. Railey sat out last year under NCAA transfer rules and saw limited action in an injury marred 2011-12 year at Iowa State. Johnson redshirted last season due to academic hurdles and his final season at Westwind Academy Prep in Phoenix was lost for a variety of problems with the program.

As this season progresses, Johnson looks more and more comfortable putting the ball in the basket. Against Pepperdine he canned a season-high 14 points. Railey continued his improved play as of late against the Waves with 10 points, five rebounds and three blocks.

The win over Pepperdine fulfilled a wish Bone expressed in his media briefing a week ago: that the scoring load not fall so heavily on junior DaVonté Lacy, who is averaging 20 points per game and has been the only bright light shooting from downtown. Lacy scored just nine against the Waves, but Royce Woolridge popped for 20, to go along with the double-digit efforts of Railey and Johnson.

"Anytime we have more guys in the mix scoring anywhere from eight to 20 points, that's what I would like to see from an offensive standpoint," Bone said. "I thought the guys shared the ball well, what was really critical was that DaVonté wasn't selfish in any way. We continued to move (the ball) as a team and not just try to get it to one guy so I thought that was good."

The Cougs took eight fewer three-point attempts against Pepperdine than their season average, and scored a whopping 42 points in the paint.

Asked if the Cougars' abysmal free throw shooting (13-for-30) against Pepperdine is fixable, Bone quipped "I sure hope so."

He added, "Sometimes that becomes a mental deal, we need to clean that up, step up with confidence and make free throws."

Bone said addressing that issue will be different for each player. For some, "you can just talk to them about it, maybe change a little bit in their routine or what they do at the free-throw line. Other guys it might be building confidence, it's between the ears."

BONE SAID THE PROGRESS of freshman post Josh Hawkinson, who played a season-high 13 minutes against Pepperdine, is creating challenge: how to find the Shorewood product more playing time.

"It's just hard because Junior's done a good job and Jordan Railey continues to grow as a player and he needs minutes also, it's a little difficult," said Bone.

For the moment, he seems to have found a temporary solution which is a lineup where Longrus slides over to the four position, allowing he and Hawkinson or even he and Railey to be on the floor simultaneously.

In 59 minutes of total playing time this season, Hawkinson has pulled down 16 rebounds, scored 10 points and dished two assists.

  • The 5-4 Cougs travel to Kennewick tomorrow for a game against Division II San Francisco State (7 p.m. tip, Pac-12 Networks Washington). The Cougar women will also be in Kennewick, tipping off at 4 p.m. against UC Riverside. The men then return to Friel Court Dec. 28 against Mississippi Valley before starting Pac-12 play at Arizona on Jan. 2.

  • Lacy ranks fifth in the Pac-12 and 36th in the nation in scoring with 20.0 points per game. He also leads the league and ranks ninth in the nation with an average of 3.7 three-pointer makes made per game. In addition, he is tied for third in the conference with 1.8 steals per game, and is 12th in the Pac-12 and 61st in the nation with a .418 3-point field goal percentage.

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