Kent reunited at UO and it doesn't feel good

SUNDAY'S GAME IN EUGENE was Ernie Kent's first appearance on the visitors bench, but the Washington State coach wanted to make Sunday's game against Oregon about the Cougars, not his return to the alma mater. But the message didn't get to his players, who Kent thought got out of rhythm early against Oregon trying to play lights out for their coach.

WSU was out of sorts in the first half, and that's all Oregon need to roll to a 95-72 win over the Cougars.

Washington State (10-13, 4-7) didn't score its first basket until the 14:48 mark of the first half. By then, the Ducks already had a double-digit lead. Oregon's advantage swelled to 28-4 before the first half hit the midway point, on the way to 52-28 halftime lead. The Cougars shot only 30 percent from the field during the first half, while the Ducks hit 55 percent..

“I thought Oregon played terrific in the game, thought they shot it well, their ball movement was great, they were on their A-games,” Kent said. “They had so many people step up in the game, production from so many different directions.”

The Ducks even benefited from subtraction. Freshman forward Jordan Bell was suspended for Sunday's game. Yet Oregon didn't miss a beat, as junior forward Dwayne Benjamin replaced Bell in the starting lineup, and hit 10 of 11 shots and scored a career-high 25 points.

Joseph Young, the Ducks leading scorer, torched the Cougars as he hit 10 of 16 from the floor and scored 29 points.

“He’s a really great scorer and he’s had some incredible nights and he’s on a roll right now, playing extremely well in the games,” Kent said. “So when you have a player that has that kind of confidence and the game to back up that confidence he becomes very tough to deal with. We tried to double team him, we tried to play zone, we tried to play man. He got rolling and when he gets rolling there’s not a whole lot you can do with him.”

Kent added that the combination of the Ducks’ energy and enthusiastic crowd also allowed the team to get rolling.

“It’s amazing that when you play extremely hard things tend to go your way and I thought they played very hard in the game. They played up in the game, the crowd had them at a different level, the hype of the game had them at a different level,” Kent said. “I’ve done TV games here, they’ve been very difficult to handle in this building when they get rolling on you and they certainly got rolling in this ball game.”

The Cougars, who have lost six of their past seven games, look to regroup Friday when they host Arizona State at 8 p.m. That game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

“The biggest thing in college basketball, I’ve said this before you don’t get too up, you don’t get too down you just got to get ready and you got to make adjustments, you got to go back to the drawing board, you try to bring them further,” Kent said. “We know who we are and when we don’t shoot the ball well, we have a hard time playing with people and here’s one of those nights where we did not shoot the ball and you saw a team that shot it.”

NOTABLE NOTES
  • -Kent changed the starting lineup tonight against the Ducks. He started freshman guard Ny Redding over sophomore guard Ike Iroegbu along with senior guard DaVonte Lacy, sophomore Que Johnson, sophomore Josh Hawkinson and senior Jordan Railey.

  • Hawkinson recorded his 15th double-double of the season after scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

  • Redshirt senior Dexter Kernich-Drew scored a season high 18 points, shooting 6 of 14 from the field.

  • The Cougars never led in the game.

  • Lacy finished with 13 points and is now ninth on WSU’s career scoring list.

  • The Cougars shot 9 of 36 from behind the 3-point line.



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