Bounce back in Berkeley: Story and Photos

WSU ASSISTANT basketball coach Ben Johnson said last summer that little-used senior post-man Chris Henry, hobbled by injuries most of his career, could be in a position to help the Cougs in spots this season if he remained healthy. Until Thursday at Cal, most of Henry's assistance came in practice, making Aron Baynes work hard, and on the bench during games, providing spirited support.

But as the Cougars looked to pick up some momentum heading after that stinging home loss to Arizona the other day, they found themselves in Berkeley without sixth-man forward Daven Harmeling (bad ankle). Losing Harmeling was particularly troubling, because Cal features the Pac-10's leading scorer in big-man Ryan Anderson, who torched the Cougs for 27 points in the previous meeting between the schools (a narrow Cal win).

Anderson puts huge pressure on every opponent's post defense -- which means you need tenacious bodies rotating through the paint and spreading out fouls.


CHRIS HENRY

Caleb Forrest, with 18 minutes of hustling PT, filled a ton of the void left by Harmeling.

And then came one Chris Henry, the 6-9, 266-pounder from Santa Ana, Calif., who is a walk-on this season after three years on scholarship.

When he stepped onto the Haas hardwood midway through the first half Thursday, it marked the first time this season he's seen first-half action. In fact, it was just his eighth appearance in a game of any sort this entire campaign.

He wound up playing a season-high eight minutes, and came up with a steal just before halftime that preserved the Cougs' lead at 31-26. He also set some nifty screens at the offensive end of the court.

Eight minutes isn't a lot, but when you need starters Aron Baynes and Robbie Cowgill, plus Forrest, to stay fresh and out of foul trouble -– especially when Anderson is in the house –- those Henry minutes were critical.

Baynes eventually did foul out, but it was late in the game and the outcome was long determined. Andeson finished with 17 points, but made just 5 of 15 field goal attempts.

In the end, the Cougs won going away, 70-49, and improved their record 22-6 overall and 10-6 in the conference. With USC's win at Arizona, the victory kept the Cougs alone in third place in the Pac-10 behind UCLA and Stanford.

The Cougs and Card face off Saturday in a game that figures to have serious March Madness seeding implications – not to mention momentum heading into the Pac-10 tournament -- for both clubs. The Card beat the Cougs in Pullman a month ago.

At 10-6 in Pac-10 play, the Cougars have reached 10 Pac-10 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons. WSU has now won 10 road games this season for the first time since 1946-47 and the 11th time in school history.

Taylor Rochestie, with 18 points, and Kyle Weaver, with 17, were the Cougs' big guns on offense. They also combined for 10 assists.

Rochestie scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game. He is shooting .539 in games outside of Pullman this season compared to .402 at Friel Court.

Key stats of the game:
* WSU scored 21 points off turnovers, Cal 5.
* WSU shot 53.1 percent from the field, Cal 36.7 percent.


KYLE WEAVER: 17 POINTS, 4 ASSISTS.


TAYLOR ROCHESTIE: 18 POINTS, 6 ASSISTS, 5 REBOUNDS.


ROBBIE COWGILL: 8 POINTS, 4 REBOUNDS.


ARON BAYNES: 10 POINTS, 8 REBOUNDS.


KYLE WEAVER: No. 23 IN WSU CAREER SCORING WITH 1,060 POINTS.



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