Cougs' erratic play doesn't cut it at Utah

ERNIE KENT GAVE CREDIT to Washington State for how his team matched up physically on the road against No. 12 Utah. But playing in one of the West's toughest home venues, Kent said mental errors, shooting 52 percent from the free throw line and committing 17 turnovers were costly in an 86-64 loss to the Utes.

“You can’t play a team as good as Utah and have those types of breakdowns mentally,” Kent said. “We’ve got to get this thing back before we get back over to Colorado.”

The Cougars (9-9, 3-3) ran with Utah (15-3, 5-1) for the game's first 13 minutes before Utah took off. Junior forward Jordan Loveridge hit a 3-pointer to extend the Utes lead to 27-23. That was the start of a 19-2 run that closed the first half.

“It ignited them and it’s a breakdown on our part and miscommunication on the baseline with Brett (Boese) and DaVonte (Lacy). Then right after that we came down and we give Loveridge another three in the other corner and another breakdown by Dexter (Kernich-Drew) where he went and guarded a 2-point shooter and not sticking to the game plan,” Kent said. “Those are mental mistakes that we just can’t afford to make especially against a good team.”

The 19-point deficit didn't break Washington State's will, however. The Cougars whittled the deficit to 10 points when Brett Boese buried a 3-pointer with 10:51 left in the game.

“We hung in there…I was proud of the way they brought this game back to a 10 point game with the ball,” Kent said. “If we could’ve got it down to seven, five points I think it puts enormous amount of pressure on them, but again mentally we had some slippage and every time we broke down mentally they made you pay.”

Kent also said the game plan was to take away the 3-point shot from Utah. That didn't work too well, though, as the Utes shot 9 of 24 from 3-point range.

“We had too much slippage on the perimeter against a scouting report that said we wanted to take away threes and make this a driving team,” Kent said. “We gave them too many threes and those were breakdowns on our part.”

The Cougars will play at Colorado on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. PST. The game is televised on the Pac-12 Network.

“Our energy was pretty good in the game and hopefully we can bounce right back and get a split out of this road trip,” Kent said. “Very important that we do that.”

  • Starting lineup included: Ny Redding, Ike Iroegbu, DaVonte Lacy, Josh Hawkinson, and Jordan Railey.

  • Lacy passed former WSU guard Derrick Low for fifth on WSU’s all time list for made 3-pointers at 523. Lacy led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points.

  • Josh Hawkinson finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, giving the sophomore forward his 11th double-double this season.

  • Redshirt senior Jordan Railey saw his minutes increase tonight against Utah and was effective in the paint (12 points, and eight rebounds).

  • The Cougars were outscored 30-16 in the paint.

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