Lacy's late-night work pays off in WSU win

PULLMAN -- Senior guard DaVonte Lacy was so embarrassed with his performance in Washington State's loss to Idaho the other night that he went right back in the gym after the game to shoot until two in the morning. The extra work paid off Saturday as he torched the University of Texas-San Antonio for 31 points in WSU's 91-71 win Saturday at Friel Court.

“That was probably the worst feeling I ever felt as a basketball player (losing to Idaho),” Lacy said following Saturday's victory, which improved the Cougs to 4-4 on the season.

“I was so embarrassed. I think I can speak for the team, we all were, and I didn’t want that to carry over and I knew I could’ve played better, I should’ve played better. I told myself I was going to play better in the next game.”

He got things rolling early against UTSA, scoring 21 points in the first ten minutes of the game.

“My teammates do a great job - they did a great job all year of finding me and setting screens,” Lacy said. “Finally I’m upholding my duty of hitting the shots, so it felt good to hit some."

Lacy hit 10 of 15 field goals, including 8 of 12 from downtown.

His long-distance output tied his single-game career high and was just one shy of the school record held by three Cougs, the most recent being Derrick Low against Oregon in the 2006-07 season.

Lacy's 31 points moved him past three prominent names in the Cougar record book -- Kyle Weaver, Steve Harriel, Vince Hanson and Terry Ball -- into 18th place on the all-time WSU scoring list.

While Lacy's hot hand was welcome relief for the Cougs, head coach Ernie Kent said he needs more from the rest of the team.

“I don’t want to put that pressure on DaVonte because he cannot carry us by himself,” Kent said. “He just needs to make sure he doesn’t force stuff within himself and when he does that he’s pretty good, but he can’t do this by himself.”

“He needs other players to step up and be on their games,” Kent said. “He’s not going to score 31 (points) every night, but other guys need to be able to get ten, 12 points here or there, I think that takes a lot of pressure off of him.”

Dexter Kernich-Drew (12 points) and Ike Iroegbu (14) were the only other Cougars in double figures. Kernich-Drew was 4 of 6 from the field and Iroegbu 5 of 7.

“Just like me, just like him, and Que (Johnson), we all went through a slump,” Lacy said of Kernich-Drew. “It’s unfortunate that we went through the slump all at the same time ... we know how good we are and how good we can shoot it and I think he’s coming, I think Que’s coming so we’ll be all right, we just got to knock down some shots.”

AFTER SHOOTING 5 OF 30 from the three-point line against Idaho, the Cougars hit 18 of 30 against UTSA, tying the school record for made treys in a single game.

“When we shoot (well) obviously we’re a different basketball team,” Kent said. “The same threes we had against TCU, Santa Barbara, Idaho, same shots, same offense, same players.”

“The results are, we played with a little bit more confidence in this game and I thought we shot the ball well and played well,” Kent said. “There’s a lot we still need to clean up, I thought we had way too many turnovers, but it was a better performance because our confidence was better, not so much the execution, but the confidence to knock down shots when they’re given too us.”

Freshman guard Trevor Dunbar, who didn't play against Idaho, turned in 13 minutes against UTSA. He didn't take any shot, but had 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

“I think the rhythm of the game, I think the score of the game gave him an opportunity to come in calmer, and play with more confidence and kind of have some fun and getting after it,” Kent said. “He’s probably, along with Jackie Davis, been the two players who have struggled the most in our program, so it’s nice for both of them get on the floor and it was nice to see Trevor have some success and have some fun.”

“Maybe now more energy comes, more focus comes we can play him more,” Kent said. “Because the way Ny’s (Redding) playing and the way Ike is playing off the ball it would be nice to have another point guard you could back up,” Kent said.

NEXT UP: The Cougars will face off against Gonzaga in Spokane on Wednesday. Kent said he believes this is Mark Few’s best team.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • WSU's starting lineup featured Ny Redding, Lacy, Iroegbu, Junior Longrus and Josh Hawkinson.
  • Attendance today was 1,915.
  • Senior center Jordan Railey had a posterizing dunk that got the fans on their feet near the end of the game to cap a solid afternoon. He was perfect from the field and finished with 9 points while adding 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 16 minutes of action.
  • WSU scored 29 points off of 17 UTSA turnovers while USTA scored 25 off 17 Cougar turnovers.
  • Lacy also moved up the career 3-point list, passing Chris Crosby (1997-2000) for seventh with 207. He is one shy of Isaac Fontaine (1994-97) in sixth.


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