Anemic O: Bone has no answers after Duck romp

PULLMAN – Like most of the Cougar Nation, Ken Bone is searching for answers to the anemic offensive output of Washington State's men's basketball team. "I'm not sure," Bone said Sunday following his team's 71-44 home loss to Oregon when asked about the inability to score. "Hopefully watching video will tell a little more and give me some answers."

From the 16:52 mark of the first half, when WSU led 3-2, right through to the merciful final whistle, onward, the Cougar offense was in a deep freeze. In all, the Cougs only mustered 10 made field goals in 40 attempts (25 percent), and were outscored in the paint 28-2. Oregon also had a 43-24 advantage in rebounding.

Of the 10 field goals made, eight of them came from beyond the arc, with Que Johnson setting the pace with 3 out of 9 shooting from there.

The victory ended a five-game losing streak for the Ducks, now 14-5 overall and 2-5 in conference play, while the Cougars dropped to 8-12 and 1-7. The loss was WSU's fourth straight and seventh in the last eight games.

"If a guy has never been able to prove (that he can score), I understand it (the poor shooting)," Bone said in his post-game media briefing as he searched for an answer to the scoring dorught. "Maybe the level is a little too high or the quickness, the length, the athleticism of the opponent, it's just hard to get shots off. I've seen that before. We have guys that have proven they can shoot it and get their shot off at this level."

The game was the tenth in the last 11 in which the Cougars failed to score more than 55 points, and the fifth since Dec. 28 in which they've failed to gets beyond the 40s.

The team's leading scorer, DaVonte Lacy, remains out of action with a rib injury, but players such as Ike Iroegbu, Dexter Kernich-Drew, D.J. Shelton and Johnson have all variously shown they can fill the basket on any given night.

On this day, however, no Cougar hit dounle figures. Johnson, with 9 points, was as close as anyone game. Rroegbu was next, with 7 points.

"Oregon's fast," Iroegbu said. "They did a good job of just pressuring us, not letting us go by them and rebounding, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. We've got to learn from it and get better." Shelton, who turned in a superb 24-point, 10-rebound effort against Oregon State the other night, managed just 6 points and 4 rebounds iin 33 minutes of action against the Ducks. Royce Woolridge was the only other starter to score a field goal, he shot 1 of 5 for the game and finished with four points.

"We've got to be able to score some points," said Bone. "You just can't win games scoring 44 points or 48 or whatever it is that we're scoring. We've got to be able to make some shots and score some points, if not you can't compete."

"Every once in awhile it was just the wrong guy shooting," Bone added.

Among the efforts to try and create offense, Bone said they've looked to establish a presence in the paint.

On the first possession of the game, WSU had that strategy on full display, feeding the ball to Jordan Railey in the post and then kicking out to a guard when the defense came to help down low.

"Teams are able to guard us from the perimeter, pretty tight, knowing we're not as much of a threat in the paint," Bone said.

At halftime Oregon had as many offensive rebounds (9) as WSU had total and at one point the Cougars trailed by 35 points.

"They were much quicker and maybe more aggressive (on the glass)," Bone said. "Tonight that hurt us."

Up Next: The Cougars play Washington this Saturday at 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) in Beasley. The Huskies are 13-8/5-3 after sweeping the Oregon schools this week.

Notable:

  • WSU co-captain Will DiIorio made a rare start on Sunday. Bone said it was because the senior guard brings tenacity the court, which the team has been missing in the opening minutes of games. DiIorio went scoreless in 15 minutes of play.

  • Bone said DaVonte is still yet to practice but has done individual shooting workouts. He hasn't been ruled out of next week's game against the Huskies. "It's possible," Bone said after adding he'll have more information at his next media briefing.

  • Attendance was announced at 3,866.

  • Since opening Pac-12 play with a win over Utah and an overtime loss to Colorado, WSU has lost its last four games by an average of 22.75 points.


    Abdul-Bassit skies for two on D.J. Shelton.


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