Apology comes too late as Bone's team crushed

SEATTLE – In the aftermath of a 72-49 drubbing to cross-state rival Washington, Ken Bone stood in a dim tunnel inside Hec Edmundson Pavilion and apologized. He shouldn't have told D.J. Shelton to keep shooting 3-pointers, he said. After all, the senior forward missed all 10 of his attempts and went 3 of 14 from the field during a Friday game in which Washington State never led.

"We kept encouraging him," Bone said. "It's my fault. I kept encouraging him to shoot the three.

"I kept saying, 'Hey look, you're a great shooter. We're getting you the ball. Don't think about it. Just shoot it'."

Shelton scored seven points and pulled down 15 rebounds in 35 minutes, but his 3-point shooting percentage dropped to 25.5 after he missed his final six shots.

"We didn't want to go away from guy like D.J., who has proven he can shoot it," Bone said. "We just figured he'd hit one or two sooner or later."

In the second half, 6-foot-5 guard Darin Johnson checked Shelton when he was atop the key, as did 6-foot-4 small forward Mike Anderson. The 6-foot-10 Shelton just kept shooting.

Bone said his second-leading scorer is allowed to post-up when he recognizes a height advantage, but that UW's help-side defense keyed on him in the first half after he knocked in a silky 10-foot jump hook after slowly backing down UW's Shawn Kemp Jr.

"We ran a couple of things for him to drive and on (two) possessions," Bone said. "Washington's help defense was pretty good."

Last season, Bone moved Shelton from power forward to a stretch-four when he recognized WSU (9-19, 2-14 Pac-12) needed more ball-handlers after guard Reggie Moore was removed from the team before the start of the season.

"It's the system for me to stay on the outside and help bring the ball up, pick-and-pop and stretch the defense," Shelton said. "It's more the offense. It's nothing that I'm choosing to do. That's where I'm at on the court. If I'm open, I'm going to shoot the ball.

"I felt like I was going to be able to post up more."

But he never did, and the Cougars' season-long shooting struggles continued. WSU finished 14 of 45 from the field (31.1 percent) and four of 23 from the 3-point line – against the conference's worst shooting defense.

"We didn't hit shots," said junior guard DaVonté Lacy. "We had wide-open looks, especially in the second half. We just didn't hit shots. I think we ran our offense well. D.J. had a rough night shooting, which isn't typical of him."

After Lacy knocked in a three with 13:04 left, narrowing UW's lead to 53-44, the Cougars didn't make another field goal.

"We never scored another field goal," Bone said. "It's tough to win that way."

At halftime, the only WSU player to have more than two points was Lacy, who finished with 25 on 6 of 14 shooting (4 of 8 from the three). He was the only WSU player to finish in double-digits scoring. WSU was outscored 36-25 and shot five of 22 in the second half.

Guard Royce Woolridge, continuing his season-long slump, scored five points and dished three assists in 25 minutes. Guard Dexter Kernich-Drew received the starting nod over a struggling Que Johnson and responded with two points in 16 minutes.

Seeking its first road conference win, WSU quickly fell into a 6-0 hole in the opening minutes after UW's Andrew Andrews and C.J. Wilcox knocked in back-to-back 3-pointers.

Wilcox gave the Huskies (16-13, 8-8) a 36-24 halftime lead when he knocked in a wide-open 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left.

"Not to take anything away from Washington -- I thought they were well-prepared and did a good job," Bone said. "We had open shots ... it just got away from us."

NOTABLE NOTES
  • In an effort to slow down the game, and thus bridge the talent disparity, WSU walked the ball up the court on most possessions, and it was reflected in the final stat total. Their "points-per-possession," an advanced metric that measures offensive efficiency, was an egregious .778. The only good news: The Cougars shot 70.8 percent (17 of 24) from the free-throw line.

  • The Cougars were outrebounded 39-27, outscored in the paint 32-18 and outscored in bench points 23-6. WSU had only six assists, while UW had 15.

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