Cougs left speechless after loss to UW

PULLMAN — Washington State's DaVonte Lacy didn’t have much to say after Washington junior guard Andrew Andrews hit a contested 3-pointer with three seconds remaining, the difference in the Huskies' 87-84 win. “It sucks,” Lacy said afterward. “That’s all I can really say right now.”

Lacy was okay with the way his team defended the Huskies (15-11, 4-10) during the final possession.

“It was a contested 25-footer,” Lacy said. “It was just a really good shot.”

On that final possession, WSU coach Ernie Kent decided to defend UW with a zone instead of man-to-man.

“We knew they were going to take it down to one shot,” Kent said. “In the zone it gives you an opportunity to clog up all the driving lanes. They run a ball screen, Junior (Longrus) was exceptional with his help, and took the play away from Goss. Ike (Iroegbu) froze a little bit, when he should’ve got out on the wing a little bit sooner and they hit a big bucket on the shot pressure.”

Kent didn't think the losing result came down to Andrew's game-winning dagger. Instead, Kent thought the game was lost by his team in the first half when the Cougars (11-15, 5-9) failed to put the Huskies away.

With 5:23 left in the first half, the Cougars extended their lead to 11 points following a 3-pointer from redshirt sophomore Que Johnson. But following a Washington timeout, Andrews hit consecutive 3-pointers to swing the momentum in the Huskies' favor and cut the deficit to five points.

“We had a chance to take a team that had lost seven games, and put them down in a game in double figures and get rolling on them, and we did not do that,” Kent said. “We let them back in the game by some poor defensive stances.”

The Cougars led 41-37 at halftime.

With 15:37 left in the second half, UW senior post Shawn Kemp Jr. drew his fourth foul after the Cougars started attacking down low. Kemp didn't return to the game.

“For us we thought we could expose the paint and drive a lot more because there wasn’t the presence inside, and then rebounding was also another big thing,” Hawkinson said. “They pretty much only had Shawn Kemp in there rebounding, but credit the wings for them, Mike Anderson crashed the boards a lot and really caused a lot of pressure for us to box out, so I think they did a good job with their lack of size.”

The Huskies leaned heavily on their backcourt of Andrews and sophomore guard Nigel Williams-Goss. The two guards caused problems for freshman guard Ny Redding and sophomore guard Ike Iroegbu.

Andrews hit 11 of 18 from the floor and scored a career-high 35 points. Williams-Goss scored 20 points after hitting 7 of 13 from the field. “They couldn’t guard those two players,” Kent said. “They’re too big, too strong, too crafty. We tried to double team them at times, and that’s why we went back to zone because they (Williams-Goss and Andrews) were just killing us inside with the post ups on those two guys.”

Said Lacy: “(Andrews) was on fire from the get go. He’s been on fire the whole last four games so I don’t think anything we could of just enhanced him, he’s just on a tear right now.

Kent said his team was solid on the offensive end of the floor against the Huskies. The Cougars shot 55 percent from the field. But the defense was a nightmare.

“We shot it well, we executed well, we got the ball where we need to get it and everything,” Kent said. “Unfortunately our defense let us down again and we allowed them to get back in the game and really take control of the game in terms of the momentum. We were just not good defensively.”

Next up for the Cougars is a 7 p.m. Wednesday game at USC, televised on the Pac-12 Networks. The Cougars then play their final regular season road game at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at UCLA, a game shown on Fox Sports 1.

After a tough loss, Kent said the biggest thing is to just move on and not worry about the past.

“We got to have short memory and get this out of the way,” Kent said. “We have a tough ball game, we turn right around and play Wednesday. We’ve done a good job of giving them days off and keeping their legs fresh, hopefully it will pay dividends for us getting on the road.”

  • The starting lineup included: Ike Iroegbu, DaVonte Lacy, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Josh Hawkinson and Jordan Railey.

  • Lacy finished with 23 points and passed Marcus Moore for seventh on WSU’s career scoring list with 1,470 points.

  • Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, his 16th double-double of the season. The school record is 17.

  • Junior guard Brett Boese did not see any action tonight.

  • Attendance was 5,567.

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