Cougars' ‘decoy' proves successful in upset

PULLMAN — DaVonté Lacy shared a little secret Saturday. From the time he was injured, he was determined to play the Huskies. Lacy's return helped provide the energy that fueled Washington State to arguably its most impressive win of the year — a 72-67 victory against rival Washington. Lacy didn't dominate on the offensive end but Ken Bone said it was his presence that made the difference.

"We know we have a good player who's confident and who's a leader," Bone said after snapping a six-game losing streak against the Huskies. "It showed up many, many times during the course of the game, timeouts, huddles on the court, halftime in the locker room; he's one of those guys that keeps the team together."

Despite shooting just 2-of-10 from the field in 33 minutes, Bone said Lacy was effective as a decoy, drawing the attention of the defense and opening opportunities up for other players.

Lacy, who finished with 10 points, said despite the speculation surrounding his exact return date, he knew as soon as he looked at the schedule four weeks ago he'd be suiting up against the Dawgs.

"I got my training to play this game," he said. "If that meant going a little bit harder, doing a little bit extra treatment, doing a little extra rehab, it was what I was going to have to do, because I was going to play this game."

Lacy showed signs of rust early, turning the ball over on his first touch of the game and missing his first seven shots from the field. He said the confidence of his teammates helped get him over the hump, as he scored all of his points late in the second half.

D.J. Shelton had yet another outstanding performance, scoring 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting and grabbing 18 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and first career win over Washington (13-9 overall, 5-4 Pac-12). He also a career-high four steals and three assists a game-high 38 minutes.

"It feels great, I'm just super excited and really proud of my teammates and how was came out and fought and didn't let them making runs get us down," Shelton said of the game that featured 13 lead changes and nine ties. "We shared the ball and played together as a team, it's a great feeling."

This was the fourth double-double for Shelton, a senior, in conference play.

"It's his time, and he's taking advantage of it," Bone said.

AFTER TRAILING BY two at the half, WSU (9-12, 2-7) surrendered a miniature run by the Huskies to open the second half and found themselves down eight and it appeared as if another second half meltdown was on the horizon.

Instead, the Cougars remained composed and answered with a 23-7 run of their own fueled by big baskets from Lacy, Shelton and Que Johnson, who finished the game with 15 points on 4 of 12 shooting in his first career game against the Huskies.

"Que is a real poised young man," Bone said. "When things aren't going well you don't see him get down and when things are going great you don't seem him sky high, jumping and poking his chest out. He's a freshman, but plays with a lot of composure."

WSU scored 70 points for the first time since the overtime loss to Colorado in front of a lively student section.

"We felt the energy early," Shelton said. "I think that's what pushed us and what really got us going in the second half."

The first basket of the night for Lacy came on a corner 3-pointer in front of the spirited student section, a moment Lacy said came as a result of the support he felt from the fans all evening.

"Every shot I took I felt like they were ready to explode." said Lacy, who last played Jan. 5 at Arizona State. "That shot was for them, they stick with me and they stick with the team and that shows by how many came out today. That was my shot to them and hopefully I can make another one soon."

Next up for the Cougars is a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday road meeting against Colorado (16-6, 5-4) on Pac-12 Networks.

  • In a complete turnaround from the last outing against Oregon, WSU outrebounded Washington 39-36, 14 of them coming on the offensive end.

    "Our guys did a great job on the glass, especially D.J.," Bone said. "A number of our guys did a really good job rebounding, which we really needed."

    The 39 rebounds are a season-high for WSU.

  • Attendance was announced at 5,796, by far the highest of the season.

    "I thought it was good, I've seen it better but I've seen it worse. All in all it was better than most games this year," Bone said.

  • WSU also held advantages in points off turnovers, 11-6, and bench points, 18-4.

  • All nine Cougars who saw game action managed to score.

  • Freshman Josh Hawkinson did not play for the first time with WSU.


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