HOOPS: Cougs cruise past Idaho

FOR MOST OF the first half, it went as many expected -- an improved, veteran Idaho team locked in a back and forth, tightly contested ballgame with the Cougs. Then WSU started zeroing in, briefly touching a double digit lead before heading into the break up by eight. And then WSU absolutely exploded to start the second half, charging past an Idaho squad like they were standing still.

The end result was a 76-64 win, moving WSU to 7-2 on the season. One of the main differences in Cougar hoops this year under Ken Bone is WSU has more of an ability to put together a game changing scoring run. Against Idaho (5-3), Washington State opened the second half with a 14-0 blitz that in essence decided the game.

Klay Thompson, who has had trouble getting clean looks the past two games, had no such difficulty against the Vandals. He scored a team-high 25 points and even then, it could have been more. He missed more shots than is customary for the 6-6 sophomore, going 9-for-21 from the field.

Abe Lodwick and Nikola Koprivica are also doing something different this year than last -- hitting three pointers. Against Idaho, they were both was 2-for-3 from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, DeAngelo Casto is making a double-double seem commonplace. Casto posted 13 points and 14 rebounds, marking the third double-double of the season and his career. Casto's 14 rebounds tied his career high.

Is there anyone who scores more quietly in double figures than Reggie Moore?

Moore finished with 12 points against Idaho, the eighth time in nine games this season the freshman has scored in double figures. Half of Moore's points came from the line.

The Cougs built a 27-point lead early in the second half and Bone wanted to see how his reserves would handle a big lead. They didn't.

Idaho clawed back over the final 10 minutes or so, and when Bone inserted his starters back in, they seemed to have lost their rhythm. Back to back three pointers by the Vandals suddenly trimmed the lead to seven points with about a minute left before WSU started to hit their free throws, play better D and put the matter to rest.

Still, WSU won both halves -- the first by eight points, the second by five. And a 12 point win over a team many think will make a postseason run this year could set up the Cougs nicely for the final non-conference games.

WSU improved to 158-107 all-time against Idaho. It is the longest continuous men's basketball series west of the Mississippi going back to 1906.

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