New Era Indeed: Cougs nearly hit 100

KLAY THOMPSON, who made it to the free throw line just 31 times last season, scored 20 points Friday night -- including a whopping eight from the charity stripe -- to lead Washington State to a season-opening win over Mississippi Valley State, 94-66. That's no typo. The Cougs -- the deans of low scoring in recent years -- nearly hit 100.

That's the most points by a Cougar team since March 2003 when they tallied 98 against the Huskies.

Thompson, in addition to his scoring output, pulled down 5 rebounds, dished 3 assists and came up with 2 steals.

Head coach Ken Bone said Thompson's nine attempts from the free-throw line was "pleasing -- Klay has been doing a good job of attacking the glass."

Bone also joked that he was glad the game wasn't televised because former Cougar coach Dick Bennett -- the high priest of ball care -- wouldn't have been pleased. The Cougs committed 19 turnovers.

As for bright spots, sophomore DeAngelo Casto had a big night. He scored a career best 18 points, nabbed 4 rebounds, blocked 3 shots, made 1 steal and had 2 assists.


Two other Cougs -- freshman Reggie Moore and sophomore Marcus Capers -- also hit double digits in scoring, with 10 apiece. Moore led the Cougars in assists with 6. His freshman batterymate in the backcourt, Xavier Thames, scored 7 points, dished 2 assists, had 1 steal and no turnovers in 18 minutes of action.

Abe Lodwick led the Cougs in rebounding, with 9 in just 16 minutes of court time. He also had 4 points.

Besides Moore and Thames, the other three members of WSU's freshman class saw action. Brock Motum scored 5 points late in the game, while Steven Bjornstad and Anthony Brown were scoreless in brief stints.

The Cougars held a 50-25 advantage in rebounding. They shot 47 percent from the field and 80 percent on 28-of-25 shooting from the free-throw line.

WSU's starters for this game were Thompson, Casto, Capers, Lodwick and Moore. In terms of minutes played, the bench was led by Thames (18), Michael Harthun (17), Charlie Enquist (15) and Brock Motum (14). Senior Nikola Koprivica played only 10 minutes but scored 9 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in that time.

The Cougs remain in Pullman for their next two games -- vs. EWU on Monday and Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne on Nov. 19 -- before heading to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 25-28.

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