KENT: TCU loss a painful part of the process

WSU SHOT JUST 19-of-54 from the field in an 81-54 drubbing at TCU on Monday night. The Cougs allowed 44 points in the paint and 18 offensive rebounds to a team that went winless in conference play last season. The biggest takeaway by first-year coach Ernie Kent after the loss dropped Wazzu to 0-2 to start the season? The Cougars are still deep into the process of adapting to Kent’s system.

After the game, Ernie Kent talked about how turning the WSU men’s basketball program around won’t happen overnight. And I think most CougFans get that. But few anticipated a 27-point defeat against a TCU squad picked to finish last in the Big 12 -- and a game that was all but decided three minutes in.

The Cougars dug themselves into a hole they would never climb out of in the game’s opening minutes, allowing the Horned Frogs to go on a decisive 14-0 run to start the game.

“You cannot come out and put yourself in that big of a hole to start a game,” Kent said. “… Number one, obviously you’ve got to fight now to get back in the game, but more importantly you give the other team a lot of confidence… all of a sudden they start shooting it better, they start rebounding it better...”

The only time there was a little hope was when the Cougs went on a 9-2 run to make it 21-14. But as in the season opening loss to UTEP, the offensive rebounds and another poor shooting performance spelled defeat. The Cougars, Kent said, are still in adjustment mode.

“You have a completely new system, a new style of play, a new staff for all of these guys - it’s not just the young guys, it’s the veteran guys too,” Kent said.

Senior guard DaVonte Lacy is one of them. The Tacoma native shot 3 of 10 from the field and 4 of 8 from the free throw line for 11 points. Redshirt senior guard Dexter Kernich-Drew also struggled to find his groove Monday night, only taking three shots the entire night and finishing with seven points in 18 minutes.

“The game the other night (against UTEP) I thought knocked (Lacy) and Dex completely off their game… They have not recovered, it’s almost like you let a game beat you twice in sense. But we’ve got to stay with them, continue to teach, continue to give them confidence and get them back home.”

TCU senior point guard Kyan Anderson 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and also dished out six assists.

“I think he’s going to be great film for these young guys to watch when we talk about point guard play and what it’s like at this level because again you got a bunch of new young players that need to understand how you handle yourself,” said Kent.

Freshman guard Jackie Davis made his first appearance of the season for the Cougars, finishing with four points in 13 minutes. Junior forward Aaron Cheatum and freshman guard Ny Redding each finished with two points, while freshman guard Trevor Dunbar (pictured above) was held scoreless, though he did peg three assists.

Kent said it’s far too early to push the panic button two games into the 2014-15 campaign,.

“The thing about college basketball is there’s a lot of games and I always tell people: don’t get too up, don’t get too down just make the adjustments and get ready for the next one because the games come at you so fast, you don’t have time to stay down, and you certainly can’t have time to celebrate too much.”

The Cougars will look for their first win of the season when they host Idaho State this Friday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

NOTABLE NOTES:
• Sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson led the team in scoring with 14 points and grabbed 13 boards which gives him his first career double-double as a Cougar.
• Hawkinson received the most minutes with 29 and Lacy received 27 minutes of playing time against TCU.
• Lacy moved into 28th place on WSU’s all-time scoring list. He now has 1,049 points, passing Ted Wierman (1967-69).
• The starting lineup for the Cougars included Ike Iroegbu, Lacy, Kernich-Drew, Junior Longrus and Jordan Railey.
• TCU scored 21 points off of 17 WSU turnovers.
• Railey tied his career high with three blocked shots.

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