Shooting woes, intensity deficit doom Cougs

FOR 16 MINUTES at Stanford on Wednesday, Washington State controlled the tempo and looked mostly good doing it. Then Que Johnson left the game with foul trouble and the proverbial wheels came off. Coach Ken Bone didn't hesitate in his autopsy of the Cougs' 80-48 loss: the inability for anyone besides Johnson and Royce Woolridge to score, and an inexplicable lack of vigor over the final 24 minutes.

"I don't know why we didn't play with the same amount of intensity and energy (as they did in defeating Utah on Sunday)," Bone told the voice of the Cougars, Bud Nameck. "We have to compete harder than that."

As for the scoring woes, Bone was equally exasperated.

"We had a hard time scoring in the paint and right around the rim ... we put the ball up on the rim and it just did not go in."

The Cougs managed but four points in the paint in the first half and eight in the second.

Johnson finished the game with a career-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field while Woolridge tallied 13 and was 6-of-13 from the field.

The only other starter to score a point was Dexter Kernich-Drew, with 5. D.J. Shelton was 0-8 from the field and Jordan Railey 0-2. Neither attempted a free throw.

The Cougars' bench wasn't much better, collectively scoring 9 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field. Ike Iroegbu led the way with 5 points.

Scoring wasn't the Cougs' only shortcoming. They were out-rebounded 37-23. Shelton, with 9 boards, was the only WSU player with more than 3.

The loss drops the Cougars to 8-9 overall and 1-4 in conference play. The road doesn't get any easier as they next face a powerful Cal squad on Saturday.

The Bears hung a combined 184 points on the two Oregon schools last week and were routing Washington at press time tonight.

"I'm hoping we can regroup and get ready for a real good Cal team," Bone said. "They're really good and can score in bunches."

He told Nameck that if the Cougs don't rediscover their intensity, the 80 they surrendered to Stanford may look mild compared to what Cal is capable of doing on the offensive end.

THE START OF THE GAME WEDNESDAY belied what ensued. The Cougs were up 24-22 with 7:37 left in the first half and tied at 27 at the 3:57 mark when Johnson left the game in foul trouble. Up to that point, the game was shaping up as a donnybrook.

Then the Cardinal floodgates opened.

The Cougars scored only one more basket before halftime and Stanford took a 40-29 lead into intermission. The situation exploded in the second half, fueled by the Cards scoring 26 points in the paint in that stanza. Josh Huestis, out of Great Falls, Mont., scored eight of those 26 on three dunks and a layup. He finished with 15 points, tying Anthony Brown for most on the Stanford side.

Stanford, which is now 11-5 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12, out-shot the Cougars 58 percent to 37 percent.


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